Favre says he needs surgery to clean bone spurs

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre's aching left ankle probably
needs arthroscopic surgery to clean out bone spurs, and he's
listening to Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and John Elway
for tips on dealing with the losing.

So ratchet up the speculation whether he returns to Green Bay
next season.

"My left ankle probably needs it," he said Wednesday. "I have
to kind of convince myself to do it. It's one of those, I'll say,
'I'll do it' and when the time comes, 'uh, I can wait.' But we'll

The 37-year-old Favre said he had similar surgery on the same
ankle in 1996 to remove large bone chips and a spur. He's been on
the injury report several times this season with injuries to his
ankles, groin and right elbow. The injury to a nerve in his elbow
forced him to miss the second half of a 35-0 loss to the Patriots
on Nov. 19.

Favre, a three-time MVP with a record for quarterbacks of 253
consecutive starts, said pain in the ankle comes and goes.

"Some days it feels better than others," he said. "Today's
not one of those days where it feels good."

Favre needs 10 more touchdown passes to beat Dan Marino's mark
of 420, and Favre said team physician Dr. Patrick McKenzie told him
it would be a simple operation.

"I'm sure it would feel much better," Favre said.

With wins so few and far between -- Green Bay is 4-8 and has lost
three straight -- Favre said he's found solace talking to
quarterbacks that he'll likely join in the Hall of Fame one day.

"There's a lot of guys that, I don't want to say (I) have
sought advice from, but just listened to and talked to, guys like
Aikman and Steve Young, even Marino and Elway to a certain degree
that, if you play long enough, there'll be this rise and fall, or
maybe a fall initially and then you go up the ladder, and then all
of a sudden you go down again," Favre said. "And with those guys,
that has happened."

But Favre admits he never envisioned it would happen to him in
Green Bay, where he had a string of 13 consecutive .500 seasons or
better end last season. The Packers are 1-5 at home this year and
have lost 12 of the last 15 at Lambeau Field.

"I've learned to appreciate winning and not take it for
granted," he said. "I had heard about previous years here in
Green Bay, but we went 9-7 (my first year) and it came down to the
last game whether or not we were in the playoffs, which that last
game against Minnesota was like a playoff game. And from that point
on it was always playoffs or in the hunt for it. Now, it's, 'Hey,
can we win a game?"'

Still, Favre says he's the "ultimate optimist" even though
he's won just eight of his last 29 games.

"If I'm sitting here next year, I'll probably be saying the
same things," he said. "I would hope that our team would be in a
better situation, but you know, the future, there's no guarantees
in that, and I'm no different than anyone else. When the season is
over, when a game is over and you have a little bit of time to
think about it, the optimism goes back up, and you say, 'Hey, you
know, we might be better."'

If Favre throws for 152 yards Sunday against the 49ers, it will
mark the 15th straight season with more than 3,000 yards passing.
The Colts' Peyton Manning has an active streak of nine consecutive
years, matching Marino for second on the list.

But Favre said an operation wouldn't affect any decision he
makes about his future, and has said he takes pride only in his
consecutive starts streak.

"The decision is, ultimately, my decision and it comes down to,
'Do you want to play or do you not want to play?' Factors do play
into that. 'How do you feel? How will you feel if you start off
0-4?"' he said.

And how long that takes is anyone's guess.

"That was fun last year, wasn't it?" Favre joked about the
wait until nearly May to decide to return. "I had you guys, I had
you guys just reeled right on in. I knew what I was going to do the
whole time.

"I don't think that it will take as much time," he said before
conceding, "but I don't know. I have no clue."