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McNabb listed as questionable for 49ers game

PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 14, 2005) -- Donovan McNabb threw four touchdowns on a broken ankle. He won't let a chest injury keep him on the bench.

McNabb didn't practice Sept. 14 because of a bruised chest, but the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback said he'll play in Philadelphia 's home opener against San Francisco on Sept. 18.

"Nothing will stop me from being on that field," said McNabb, who was injured in the first quarter in the Eagles' 14-10 season-opening loss at Atlanta on Monday Night Football.

If McNabb can't play -- he's listed as questionable -- longtime backup Koy Detmer isn't a lock to get the start. Detmer shared reps with third-string quarterback Mike McMahon in practice, and coach Andy Reid wouldn't select a potential starter.

"We'll see as the week goes on," Reid said. "I'll evaluate it and see what we want to do with it. I know both do a nice job."

Detmer has started eight games in his nine seasons with the Eagles. He led Philadelphia to a 38-17 victory in San Francisco in a Monday night game three years ago, one week after McNabb broke his ankle. Detmer threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers before injuring his elbow and missing the rest of the season.

McMahon started seven games in four seasons with Detroit before signing with the Eagles in the offseason. He isn't as familiar with Philadelphia's version of the West Coast offense, but outperformed Detmer in the preseason.

"We're going to take the reps the way they want us to and see how it shakes out," said Detmer, who probably has maintained his status as the backup because he's the holder for Pro Bowl kicker David Akers.

Detmer expects to be on the sideline watching McNabb.

"He's a warrior," Detmer said. "We've seen him play through all kinds of things, broken ankles, everything. If he can walk, he can go. He will be out there."

McMahon said he's comfortable with the Eagles' complex offense.

"It's nothing too difficult," he said. "You just have to prepare and go out and help the offense move the ball. Don't do anything too fancy and move the chains."

McNabb didn't miss any plays after a crushing hit from Chad Lavalais sent him wincing to the sideline, but he struggled the rest of the game against the Falcons.

McNabb, coming off his best season, threw one interception, lost two fumbles and often missed his target with erratic passes. He finished 24 of 45 for 257 yards and one touchdown.

"I don't want to make excuses," McNabb said. "I just didn't do my job the way I'm used to."

Reid said McNabb doesn't have any structural damage in his sternum. Last season, Titans quarterback Steve McNair missed eight games with a sternum injury that eventually required surgery.

"It's bruised and a matter of it calming down," Reid said. "We are not going to put him out there in a situation where he could be injured."

McNabb has played through pain in the past. He broke his ankle in the first quarter of a game against Arizona in 2002, stayed in and threw four TDs. He had trouble playing with an injured thumb in 2003, but didn't miss any time.

"It's just a process you go through with bumps and bruises," he said. "If I'm out there I feel like I can help the team as much as possible."

Center Hank Fraley said the offensive line has to protect McNabb better.

"I won't be surprised if he plays. He's played on a broken ankle," Fraley said. "We want him as clean as possible and take the least amount of hits."

McNabb said he stopped wearing a flak jacket two years ago, but would consider putting one on this week.

Neither McNabb nor Reid wanted to comment on the hit that injured McNabb, but it's clear both thought it wasn't entirely clean. Lavalais leveled McNabb with his helmet.

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