Still, he didn't or couldn't bring himself to say McNabb was out.
"I think [McNabb] will struggle to practice this week, but we'll see how that goes," said Reid, who added another quarterback, former Eagle Jeff Garcia, to the roster yesterday. "We've seen him [not practice, but play] before and have some pretty good games."
You hope Reid is just saying that as a bit of gamesmanship, to make Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams think for as long as possible that he has to game-plan for McNabb.
But when you hear a coach say that a broken rib is not an injury that can get worse and that the potential for a punctured lung is not a concern "right now," you tend to wonder if somehow Reid is thinking McNabb might be able to go on Sunday.
And let's not kid ourselves, because
we've seen Reid give into McNabb's "linebacker mentality" before when dealing with injuries.
In 2002, McNabb fractured his ankle in the first half of a game against the Arizona Cardinals and still played the second half. He missed the last six games of the regular season but came back to play in the playoffs when he wasn't yet 100 percent.
In 2005, McNabb was diagnosed with a sports hernia after the third game.
The Eagles had the option for McNabb to have surgery and a possible late-season return or have him play for as long as he could tolerate the pain. McNabb started the first nine games before he was shut down for the season.
To be fair, McNabb was immediately ruled out when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Nov. 19, 2006, missing the final six games, and he sat for two games after he injured his ankle and thumb in 2007.
Playing through pain is just part of the culture of playing football. Most players are taught that from when they first pick up a ball in peewee football.
"[McNabb] is sore," Reid said. "He's going to do everything he can to play this week. He's staying optimistic. We'll see how it goes."
No, the Eagles should not see how it goes.
Reid needs to look at the bigger picture in this situation, and the risk-reward scenario falls squarely against McNabb playing.
Winning a game and beating a conference opponent are never things to be taken lightly, but it's just the second week of the season.
The Eagles play the Saints and Kansas City Chiefs at Lincoln Financial Field before getting a bye week.
That likely would cover the period McNabb needs for his tender ribs to feel normal.
At the absolute worse, the Eagles would be 1-2 with 13 games remaining - ample time to recover from a slow start if necessary.
But if McNabb takes the field on Sunday and takes several hard shots - something that is guaranteed to happen because of the nature of the sport and quarterback position - there is no telling what the consequences could be.
Wearing a flak jacket provides only so much protection. McNabb could aggravate the injury to where a short-term issue becomes a season-crushing long-term one.
The Eagles have the potential to do something special this season. They are one of the teams that should be in the mix for the NFC Championship.
Losing McNabb would severely hamper those chances.
"I'm listening to the doctors, [Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder] and Donovan," Reid said. "I'm not going to put him out there in a position where he can be injured any further or can't get out of the way or function the way he needs to function to play at this level."
McNabb has a cracked rib, and presumably the only way he'd be able to play is with some protective gear and an effective dose of painkillers.
I'm not sure how that equates to being able to function properly at the NFL level.
Every football player is hurt to some degree, and every one is expected to play through nagging aches and pains.
But those things have to be balanced out.
If this were late in the season and the Eagles were fighting for a playoff spot, I'd probably say play McNabb as long as he can't be further injured and can be effective.
It's not late in the season, however, and this game against New Orleans isn't likely to be the one that ruins the Eagles season - that is, unless McNabb plays, takes a hard shot to the ribs from a Saints rusher and suddenly is sidelined for a long stretch of time.
Reid said McNabb has the mentality of a linebacker, therefore it is up to the coach to remember that McNabb is the franchise quarterback and to make his decision based on that.
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