Reid on McNabb: "I think he'll be ready."

Reid on McNabb: "I think he'll be ready."

After returning to the practice field this week, Donovan McNabb has his coach thinking that the Eagles could start training camp with McNabb leading the first team offense.

Donovan McNabb took part in some of the workouts on Monday and Tuesday before staying on the field for the full drills the final two days of mini-camp. The biggest news from his effort was that he wasn't having any pain in his surgically repaired knee and there was little to no swelling to worry about after the practices.

That good news now has the Eagles thinking that McNabb could be under center for their season opener against Green Bay and the next step toward that goal would be having him lead the first team offense from day one of training camp. "I think he'll be ready. The way it looks right now, unless there's a set back [he'll be able to practice].I'll probably start off conservative with him and gradually work him into where he can take the practice," said Andy Reid after watching McNabb work out this week.

It's a much better prognosis than when McNabb got hurt last November. Back then, there was talk of McNabb missing at least a couple and as many as six regular season games. In fact, there was talk that the Eagles might re-sign Jeff Garcia since there was such a concern over when McNabb would return. Some took the fact that Garcia was allowed to go elsewhere as a sign that McNabb would be back in time for the regular season, but when they drafted Kevin Kolb with their first pick in the draft last April, rumors flew about McNabb's health - and happiness.

McNabb himself put things to rest on Thursday.

It has really been responding well at this particular point. If this was a couple of weeks ago, I probably wouldn't have been out there," said McNabb about the progress with his knee. He insists that whether he would practice this week was undecided until he came into mini-camp. "I didn't have the mindset of exactly what I was going to do or when I was going to do it. I think when it came to the point of last week, when I was watching practice, I would come in early in the morning and work out and do different things and then I would watch practice. [Last] Friday, I decided that I wanted to do a little bit more, so Monday I kind of just ran a couple of drills and warmed up and threw with the guys to see how it would respond," said McNabb. "There wasn't that much soreness and it didn't swell up a lot. So, I came in the next morning and did the same regimen of working out in the morning and then being able to ice and then reheat it back up and warm it back up and go out to practice."

As for Reid, he also didn't know what to expect from McNabb, but he did hope for the best. "We were hoping to get him out in this last week, before we went to training camp, to give him an opportunity. But, we weren't going to force anything. If he wasn't ready to go we weren't going to put him out there," insisted Reid. "But, he's worked so hard to keep himself this far ahead of schedule, and we felt comfortable with it."

McNabb wasn't the only bright spot of mini-camp for Reid, he wouldn't highlight any players who stood out over the past two weeks. "It's not fair, necessarily, to pick one out. I was impressed by that class, the rookie class and some of the college free agents that we signed. I think they've created some competition for positions there, and that's what you try to do." Mini-camp left Reid feeling good about his team as they prepare for heading to Lehigh. "You have a good idea. I think what takes place up at Lehigh is you build a little more personality."

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