Brett Favre still in pain, expects to know if he can play by Friday
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It still hurts Brett Favre just to get dressed in the morning. He has no illusions about playing pain-free on Sunday.
But the Minnesota Vikings' veteran quarterback is expected to practice on Thursday, and Favre said he believes he'll know by Friday whether he can play through his latest injury against the New York Giants -- even though interim coach Leslie Frazier has made clear he's willing to wait on the decision until game day.
"Putting on a shirt, it's a little sore right now," said Favre, who sprained the sternoclavicular joint near his throwing shoulder in last weekend's loss to Buffalo.
"Putting socks on is a little bit of a struggle. Again, it's a day-to-day thing. Obviously, the way I fell and compressed that joint, any of those movements internally (are) probably a lot more sore than away from the body."
Favre was a spectator when practice resumed on Wednesday and has not tried to throw a football since a brief and futile attempt on the sideline shortly after Bills linebacker Arthur Moats' hit knocked him out on Sunday's third play.
The 41-year-old hasn't had this injury before and said he's taking "a wait-and-see mentality" as the week progresses. Of course, he's played through pain before -- Sunday would mark his record 298th consecutive regular-season start, his 322nd including playoffs -- and Frazier continued to express a positive outlook.
"I'm still optimistic," Frazier said, "just because when you take a look at his history, even the week that he had the broken foot, who would have thought that he would have played that week? Brett Favre is so, so unique when it comes to recovering from injuries. I'm optimistic that he will be out there playing on Sunday."
The broken foot had Favre's status similarly unclear entering the Vikings' game Oct. 31 at New England. But in spite of missing almost the entire week of practice, Favre started and played relatively well, completing 22 of 32 passes (68.8%) for 259 yards with an interception in the Vikings' 28-18 loss.
This injury carries greater gravity, though, since it's in the area of Favre's throwing shoulder. He surely remembers how he struggled down the stretch with the New York Jets in 2008, when he barely practiced because of a ruptured biceps tendon.
"Maybe I don't throw it as far or not quite as much zip," Favre said, "but I think for any player you can't go into a game thinking, 'I don't know if I want to make that throw. I don't know if I can make that cut. I'm not sure if I can come out of my breaks as a receiver like I normally would.'
"You can't second guess anything you're doing, and if you think, 'Mmm, I don't know if I want to pull the trigger on this throw, so I'm going to go somewhere else' -- that's basically how I approach all the injuries I've had. So, if I feel that I'm going to second-guess any throw -- I'm already expecting that if I do play or try to play, to hand off or get tackled or something like that, yeah, you're going to feel (pain). You're going to know. But I can't feel that I have the mindset of 'I'm going to pull the trigger and just turn it loose.' That I don't know yet."
Asked if he could rule himself out before game day, Favre said, "Absolutely. That hasn't happened too many times in my career but sitting here right now? Sure. Friday I should know a lot more just based on how it feels compared to today. I'm not saying that based on the idea I'm going to throw 50 passes (on Thursday). I just think how it feels when I wake up will tell a lot."
Favre's history strongly suggests otherwise, though. And unlike former coach Brad Childress, who reportedly was leaning toward starting Tarvaris Jackson at one point before the Patriots game, Frazier has been adamant that Favre gives the Vikings the best chance to win -- provided he's healthy enough to play 60 minutes.
"Either he can go or he can't go," Frazier said. "We'd like to make that determination, and when he goes in there we're at full expectation that he'll play for four quarters. That will be the plan. We wouldn't go into it, get a start, play a couple reps and get out."