Donovan McNabb won't have to watch practices much longer.

Today, the star quarterback will get a chance to show the Philadelphia Eagles he's ready to return from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the last six games.

McNabb has been out since breaking his right ankle Nov. 17 in a 38-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. When McNabb takes the field with the rest of the first-team offense, 45 days will have passed since he last played.

It will be eight weeks since he was injured when the Eagles play their first playoff game against Atlanta, San Francisco or the New York Giants on Jan. 11 or 12.

"If he can move around and feels comfortable with it, then he can step in there and go, but we're going to keep a close eye on him," Eagles Coach Andy Reid said. "He wants to be back in there. That's one thing that he'll be fighting just a bit."

While the rest of the team had three days off this week because of the first-round bye, McNabb spent his time working out at the Eagles' practice facility. He was eager to test his ankle in a full practice.

"Donovan knows what he needs to do to get himself ready," Reid said. "It's not a rookie that you're putting in there, it's a guy that's been through it and knows what's ahead of him there.". . .

Joe Foss, the first commissioner of the American Football League, died yesterday. He was 87.

Foss also was a World War II fighter ace who won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross after shooting down 26 enemy planes. After leaving the Marine Corps, Foss entered politics and became governor of South Dakota in 1955.

Foss never regained consciousness after suffering an apparent aneurysm in October. He died at a hospital in Arizona, South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow said.

He became commissioner of the AFL in 1960 and remained in the job until 1966.


Bonds Ball in Limbo

The two men unable to agree on who owned Barry Bonds's 73rd home run ball now can't agree on how to sell it.

That leaves the record ball still locked in legal limbo.

A judge ruled last month neither should get it outright -- Alex Popov gloved the ball for an instant, and Patrick Hayashi ended up with it.

Now the only thing the men can agree on is to postpone a court order that requires them to unload the ball and split the money, perhaps $1 million.

Under Judge Kevin McCarthy's order, Popov, Hayashi and their lawyers were to meet with Judge Richard Kramer and sort out the details of the sale by Dec. 30. That deadline came and went.

"We've had a couple of meetings with Kramer and decided to postpone the decision," said Popov's lawyer, Martin Triano. "We agreed to postpone to take the holidays off."


Arsenal Triumphs

Defending champion Arsenal edged Chelsea, 3-2, to stay atop the Premier League, while Manchester United jumped to second.

United trailed Sunderland after just five minutes, but David Beckham tied it, and Paul Scholes' late header provided a 2-1 win over Sunderland.

Arsenal leads the standings with 46 points, followed by United (41 points), Chelsea (38) and Everton (36).