Sherman Counting On Favre Against San Francisco

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GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman doesn't doubt that Brett Favre was in pain Sunday night after the Green Bay Packers quarterback struck his broken thumb on the helmet of offensive guard Mike Wahle in the fourth quarter of a 20-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But he's just as confident that the incident -- while potentially devastating -- did nothing to hurt Favre's chances of starting this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.

Considering that Favre has now started 200 consecutive games, including postseason -- an NFL record among quarterbacks -- that prediction hardly puts Sherman in the company of Nostradamus, but it's still good news for a team that's clawed itself to within one game of the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings.

"It's healing as we speak," Sherman said Monday of Favre's broken thumb, which was initially injured on a similar play against the St. Louis Rams, Oct. 19.

"Obviously, when you bang it, it's going to hurt and it hurt the other day. (But) even though it hurt, it's still getting better.

"He did not re-injure the thumb. The thumb is injured. You can't really re-injure it unless he breaks another part of the thumb."

Even though Favre hasn't gone in for X-rays since last week, Sherman said there's no evidence that the original hairline crack has gotten any worse or that an additional break has occurred.

Favre could have the thumb X-rayed again Tuesday, but Sherman doesn't expect the tests to reveal anything new.

"The last time we looked at it, it was calcifying, no displacement," Sherman said. "It was healing well."

Favre banged the thumb with 5:52 remaining in the game on the fourth play of the Packers' penultimate drive.

Looking for Antonio Freeman on first-and-15, Favre's thumb struck Wahle on his follow-through.

Favre grimaced in pain for several seconds, but never left the game.

The Packers followed with a run by Ahman Green and then a shovel pass to Tony Fisher before punting on fourth down.

When the Packers got the ball again with 3:16 to play, they ran six straight times before punting.

Sherman said after the game that for a "split second" he considered removing Favre in favor of backup Doug Pederson, but reiterated Monday that Favre could have thrown a pass if necessary.

"We cut back immediately those next two plays," Sherman said, "but I felt like if we had to have a game-winning drive in overtime or something like that, he would have been fine."

In the four games Favre has played with the injury, he's completed 61.8 percent of his passes (68 for 110) for 663 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions.

Sunday, Favre went 13-for-28 for 92 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Other than the Packers' 2002 contest against the Washington Redskins, in which Favre left early with a sprained lateral collateral ligament, Sunday's game against the Bucs was the only time since Game 8 of the 1994 season that Favre threw for fewer than 100 yards in a regular season game.

Interestingly, the Packers are 3-1 all-time in regular season games that Favre starts, but fails to reach the century mark.

After Sunday's win at Tampa, Favre said his injured thumb felt about the same as it did after the St. Louis loss, but didn't think it had been further displaced.

"I don't know if it was placed to begin with," Favre quipped. "Playing a game like this makes everything feel a little bit better."

Players were given the day off Monday and will return to practice Wednesday following their traditional off-day Tuesday.

Sherman expects that Favre will resume his recent practice schedule, taking few practice reps as early as Wednesday and building up through the week.

Asked if he'd be able to tell the three-time NFL MVP to sit if the injury became too much, Sherman said it would never come to that point.

"He and I have a very good relationship, a very honest relationship," Sherman said. "I want to win football games in the worst way. Brett Favre does, too. If Brett Favre felt like he was a liability, he would be the first person to tell me ... Brett Favre is about winning football games.

"Does he take pride in what he's accomplished on his durability and streak? Yes. We all do. But he would never compromise winning for that."

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