FavreWatch: Paging Steve Austin

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It's time for another trip to the bionics store for the Six(teen) Million Dollar Man. I don't see any other way that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre can play Sunday and extend his 297-game streak of consecutive starts.

We've joked before that Favre is a modern-day Steve Austin, the protagonist of the 1970's-era show that I hope a few of you watched. A critically-injured astronaut, Austin's body was rebuilt with bionic enhancements. (For those of you who remember: Better. Stronger. Faster.) How else to explain how Favre has played through so many injuries this season, let alone in his career?

In all seriousness, that's what I think it's come down to this week for Favre, who has a sprained SC joint near his right shoulder and had to back away Thursday from a plan that originally called for him to practice. Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said Favre "couldn't get it done physically" Thursday and will give it another go on Friday.

Frazier noted that a return to practice Friday "is not the end of the world" but overall seemed less optimistic that Favre will be ready to play against the New York Giants. He said he was "hopeful," but that hope appears to be based primarily on Favre's history -- and not his reaction to this particular injury.

In reality, with less than 72 hours before Sunday's kickoff, Favre has yet to be able to throw a football. During the portion of practice open to reporters Thursday, Favre flipped left-handed passes but never attempted one with his right.

I suppose Favre could simply be playing possum here. Only he knows exactly how the injury feels. But the vibe around this latest injury is different than the others we've reported on this season. If nothing else, I think it's fair to say Favre is as close as ever to missing a start. Time is running out. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.