McNabb won't let thumb injury send him to the bench

Updated: October 15, 2003, 7:05 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb's injured right thumb throbs when he throws, affecting his grip and his ability to make even the simplest plays like pump-faking or accurately tossing the deep ball.

While it's painful, it's not severe enough to consider sitting out a week or two and turning Philadelphia's offense over to Koy Detmer or A.J. Feeley.

"I want to show the team I'll be out there every day for them," McNabb said Wednesday. "I'm not here to take days off. That would be a call the training staff would have to do. I want to be out there all the time."

But at what cost?

His numbers, even before spraining his right thumb Sept. 28 against Buffalo, are unimpressive.

McNabb has completed only 49.1 percent of his passes for 790 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions. He played against Dallas with a wrapping around his thumb.

"I'm not here to make any excuses. You have to fight through it," he said.

McNabb showed his toughness last year when he had one of his best games of the season after breaking his right ankle in the first quarter. His willingness to play through this injury is admired by his teammates and coaches.

But outsiders suggest that perhaps it's time for McNabb to rest to be healthy for the playoff push; that maybe Feeley or Detmer can rejuvenate one of the worst offenses in the league.

Not a chance, McNabb said.

"It will heal, even without time off," he said.

McNabb said he would tell coach Andy Reid, who's taking his own share of abuse for the Eagles 2-3 start, if the thumb would force him out of the lineup.

"If it hurts that bad where you can't go out and play, then obviously you shouldn't be there," he said.

McNabb said he doesn't suffer from self-doubt and that his confidence remained high. He watches game film from previous years that lets him know he's capable of regaining his Pro Bowl form.

Even the distractions -- from the injury to the losses to Rush Limbaugh -- don't bother him.

"I have to be the guy who walks through here with my head high and be willing and ready to work to become a better player," he said. "If my teammates see that, they know I'm ready to go and they should be as well."

There are other theories to his slow start -- that defenses have adjusted to the West Coast offense, that there isn't enough talent at the skill positions or the offensive line hasn't given McNabb enough time to throw. McNabb hasn't thrown a TD pass to a wide receiver this year.

"Everything's got to click on the West Coast offense," said WR Freddie Mitchell. "If one thing's clicking, another thing isn't. I think as receivers go, we're doing a great job."

McNabb insisted he needs to do a better job of spreading the ball around.

McNabb has the support of Reid, who continued to reiterate that the offensive woes aren't all McNabb's fault. He also brushed off suggestions that he should bench McNabb or that his playcalling was becoming stagnant.

"I didn't know I was being criticized," Reid said with smile.

McNabb said a winning streak, starting with Sunday's game at the Giants, will end any questions about his health and productivity.

"Hopefully all of this will die down," he said.<

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index