As if the Philadelphia Eagles didn't already have enough problems, the defending NFC champions now are facing the prospect of playing the Washington Redskins on Sunday night at FedEx Field without wide receiver Terrell Owens.
Owens re-injured his surgically repaired right ankle during the Eagles' 49-21 defeat last Sunday at Denver, which dropped the club's record to 4-3. Owens was listed as doubtful on the Eagles' official injury report, and Coach Andy Reid said the team will have to make preparations to face the Redskins without him.
"We'll see," Reid said here today, calling Owens's injury a sprain. "He is hurting. He is sore. It's going to be a fight to get him there for Sunday."
Rookie Reggie Brown would start in Owens's place if Owens is unable to play, Reid said.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb also was to miss today's practice after suffering bruised ribs against the Broncos. McNabb said he landed on the foot of Eagles guard Shawn Andrews after being hit on a fourth-quarter play. Tests taken Monday showed no fractures, and the Eagles are hopeful that McNabb will play Sunday night. McNabb said he intends to play. But he has played with an assortment of injuries this season that includes a sports hernia, and he indicated that this is probably the most banged-up he has been in his entire NFL career.
Defensive end Jevon Kearse was to miss today's practice because of a sprained shoulder, and Reid said his status was day to day. The Eagles placed punter Dirk Johnson on the injured reserve list and signed Reggie Hodges, a rookie punter who was a sixth-round draft choice this year by the St. Louis Rams out of Ball State.
Roethlisberger's Status Unclear
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hurt his right knee during the Pittsburgh Steelers' triumph Monday night over the Baltimore Ravens. An MRI exam Tuesday showed no ligament damage, but Roethlisberger could miss practice time this week and his status for Sunday's game at Green Bay is unclear.
The preliminary diagnosis was that Roethlisberger suffered a strained posterior capsule, according to the team. He caught his foot in the turf while being hit during Monday's game, but stayed in the lineup. Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to rookie tight end Heath Miller in the 20-19 win that improved his regular-season record as an NFL starter to 18-1.
Charlie Batch has moved ahead of Tommy Maddox on the depth chart and would start against the Packers if Roethlisberger is unable to play.
Roethlisberger hurt his left knee on a hit by San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Luis Castillo during a game last month, and was sidelined for the Steelers' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars the following week. He returned to lead the club to wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Ravens to improve the Steelers' record to 5-2.
Niners Sign Palmer
The San Francisco 49ers signed former New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer. He gives the team some depth at the position, with Alex Smith and Ken Dorsey hurt. Cody Pickett, the club's fourth-string quarterback as recently as a few weeks ago, likely will start Sunday's game against the Giants. . . .
Joey Harrington could regain the starting-quarterback job in Detroit at least temporarily. He was benched in favor of Jeff Garcia, who has started the Lions' last two games after returning from the broken leg and severe ankle sprain he suffered in the preseason. But he was roughed up and re-injured his leg during last Sunday's loss to Chicago, in which he handed the Bears the win by throwing an interception in overtime that was returned for a touchdown. . . .
Cleveland Browns Coach Romeo Crennel likely will give increased consideration this week to making a quarterback switch, from veteran Trent Dilfer to rookie Charlie Frye. . . .
Denver placed cornerback Lenny Walls, a former starter suffering from a groin injury, on the injured reserve list and will release him in a few weeks when he's healthy. Walls became expendable with the rapid development of young cornerbacks Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth. . . .
Dallas released tailback Anthony Thomas, the former Chicago starter signed in the offseason to back up Julius Jones. Jones has been hurt recently but Thomas had fallen behind Marion Barber and Tyson Thompson.
The Cowboys also placed linebacker Al Singleton and defensive end Jay Ratliff on the IR list and signed safeties Lynn Scott and Tony Dixon. . . .
New England released tailback Amos Zereoue and signed fullback Heath Evans. . . .
Seattle safety Ken Hamlin will miss the remainder of the season because of head injuries he suffered in a fight outside a nightclub last month. The Seahawks placed him on the non-football injury list.
Holmgren banned his players from Pioneer Square, the area where the incident occurred, after Hamlin was injured. The NFL Players Association has not publicly objected to that action by Holmgren, but a union official said he does not believe that any punishment leveled against a player for taking part in a legal activity on his own time would withstand a grievance. . . .
The bone bruise on the knee of Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin reportedly will keep him sidelined for two to four weeks. . . .
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters during an appearance Tuesday in New York that he would not object to the New Orleans Saints being moved to San Antonio but thinks the league first must focus on trying to return the team to New Orleans.
"We have to address the basic situation for the people of New Orleans and the conditions there," Jones said, according to the Associated Press. "There's no solution today that's acceptable."
Jones was in New York for an announcement that Sheryl Crow will perform at halftime of the Thanksgiving game in Texas Stadium.