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Eagles' McNabb practices ahead of schedule

Donovan McNabb took a major step forward in his return from knee surgery, practicing with the Philadelphia Eagles several weeks ahead of schedule.

PHILADELPHIA (June 11, 2007) -- Donovan McNabb took a major step forward in his return from knee surgery, practicing with the Philadelphia Eagles several weeks ahead of schedule.

The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback participated in non-contact drills in his first action on the field since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last Nov. 19.

"It felt great to get back out there on the field with all of the guys," McNabb said. "It's just part of the rehab process and hopefully good things will continue to come. It's important to continue to monitor my progress, but also be smart about the whole situation."

McNabb rehabbed vigorously since his latest injury ended his season early for the third time in five years. He had been throwing on the side for weeks and simulating practice movements, but hadn't been expected to take part in drills with the team until training camp opened next month.

It was quite a surprise when McNabb remained on the field after tossing passes during individual drills and took a handful of snaps with the first-team offense. He left practice early as planned.

"He's where we hoped he would be," coach Andy Reid said. "He worked very hard to get to this spot, so we let him test it out. We didn't give him too much. We want to make sure he can move around tomorrow, if possible. So we gave him a few shots and got him back to the ice tub. I thought he did a nice job. He looked strong."

The Eagles will practice three more days before breaking camp until July 27. McNabb's status for the rest of the week is day to day.

"He has been working harder than what he did out here in the rehab process," Reid said. "But, again, you get out there and get your juices going and you start banging that thing a little bit harder into the ground on your drops than you normally would, so we'll see how he does there."

McNabb was having one of the best seasons of his career before he was injured against the Tennessee Titans, throwing for 2,647 yards and 18 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 95.5 in 10 games.

He said he was shocked when the Eagles picked quarterback Kevin Kolb in the second round with their first selection in the NFL draft, but doesn't hold any hard feelings toward management.

A consistent target for criticism despite his success in Philadelphia, McNabb has gone out of his way to show another side of himself in recent weeks. He hired a former Eagles public relations official to be his publicist and has conducted several interviews with selected media outlets -- many of those interviews held away from team headquarters.

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