Forum Spin Doctor
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Brett Favre isn't used to telling his team that he can't go back on the field. And 251 games into his consecutive starts streak, he doesn't plan to make it a habit. Favre said Wednesday he isn't "overly concerned" about not being able to make his next start after an elbow nerve injury kept him out of the second half of the Green Bay Packers' 35-0 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Although the injury isn't causing him much pain, Favre acknowledged he hasn't fully regained the feeling in the first two fingers on his throwing hand, leaving a hint of doubt about his availability for Monday night's game in Seattle.
Favre can't quite feel the ball the way he wants to, so he can't quite make it do what he wants it to do in the air.
"This is just different," he said. "At least with a broken thumb, I could feel the ball. It was painful, but I could feel the ball. So I am a little concerned about that, but it's only been three days since the injury so I don't think there's any certain guidelines you go through on something like this. It's kind of an odd deal. But once again, at this point, I feel confident I'll be OK."
He ran plays in the "jog-through" portion of Wednesday's practice but didn't participate in full-speed team drills.
Favre said the actual injury isn't severe. He has a minor bruise and some swelling on his right arm - not much for a guy who has played with a softball-size bruise on his hamstring (2004), broken thumb (2003), injured knee ligament (2002) and all sorts of bumps and bruises.
"As far as the pain goes, this is as minor an injury I've had to even question whether or not I would play," Favre said.
Favre was injured near the end of the first half, when Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain wrapped him up, and Tedy Bruschi came in to finish the sack.
At first, Favre said he didn't understand how the hit could have caused such an injury, until he saw a cast on Bruschi's right hand.
"The cast kind of makes more sense, because otherwise I thought it was like he poked me or a knuckle or something caught me," Favre said. "As bad as it felt, I figured he had to break a knuckle or something. But he had that cast on his hand."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team was being cautious by holding him out of a portion of practice Wednesday.
"I've been saying all along, just with his track record, I'll be surprised if he doesn't go Monday," McCarthy said.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, Favre's former mentor in Green Bay, went a step further.
"I would bet the ranch he's going to play," Holmgren said. "Knowing him the way I know him, I fully expect him suited up and playing."
The question isn't whether Favre can play through the pain. He can.
But should he?
"It's one thing to be tough and to overcome some injuries and be able to put them aside," Favre said. "But as I said earlier, to make a bad situation worse by (saying), 'Hey, I'm going to be tough and I'm going to go in there and play,' and the ball comes out the back of my hand, that's not helping us at all."
Favre has started 231 straight regular-season games - an NFL record for quarterbacks - and 20 straight playoff games. Favre said the streak ranks first on his list of achievements.
"I'm almost as proud of the fact that I've played in every game as anything," Favre said. "And the statistics come with playing. I think that's just icing on the cake, all the other things, but the fact that I've played in every game to me is amazing because you would think that just in normal, everyday life you would trip and fall or something and miss a game, or catch the flu like Cliffy (offensive lineman Chad Clifton, who missed a game in Miami earlier this season) did. Something would happen. But up until this point I've survived."
But Favre said he wouldn't want to continue the streak if it meant taking the field when he wasn't capable of playing well.
"I guess if that were to come around Monday and the same thing were to happen, I would hope I wouldn't put this team in jeopardy by just doing it for selfish reasons," Favre said. "I want to make the right decision, but I want to help this team win, give us the best chance to win. So I think that would be the only scenario."