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Extraordinary Effort To Get Back On Field

Head coach Andy Reid has always had a lot of respect for head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder.

But after the yeoman effort it took to get guys like Kevin Curtis, Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard, Juqua Parker and Tra Thomas ready to play against the Falcons on Sunday, Reid heaped heavy praise on Burkholder and his staff.

"It's important for these guys to work with Rick and continue to follow his rehab program and do the job they're doing," Reid said. "My hat's off to them. Going into the bye week, we had quite a few guys on this (injury) list. They worked their tails off to get themselves back."

Reid did say that wideout Reggie Brown is feeling better after tweaking his groin earlier in the week, but that he is listed as questionable for Sunday's contest.

"We're being smart with it, with the practices, to have a chance at the game here," Reid said. "That's important right now."

Reid added that the swelling in Parker's knee is down, that Sheppard, Thomas and Westbrook each practiced on Friday and that Curtis will indeed start against the Falcons.

Reid is a little anxious to see what Curtis, who's been out since the preseason with a sports hernia, can add to the Eagles' offense.

"He, obviously, had a great year last year. He was our leading receiver," Reid said. "He's another person that (quarterback) Donovan (McNabb) trusts. He's got trust in all of our receivers. This is a guy that he utilized quite a bit last year. Kevin is very consistent and he brings another speed player out there to the mix with the other guys."

Guard Shawn Andrews is the only Eagle definitely listed as out for Sunday. Andrews is currently resting in a Los Angeles-area hospital after having successful back surgery earlier this week. Reid said that was no current timetable for his return to the football field.

"They said the earliest he'd be back would be six weeks," Reid said. "I'm just going to see how he does here in the next couple weeks, three weeks, four weeks. I'm not sure when we'll make that decision."

Of all the players coming back to the Eagles' lineup this week, Westbrook's return is perhaps the most surprising. Westbrook fractured two ribs less than three weeks ago, but he's planning on playing a big role for the Eagles on Sunday.

"It depends on the ribs that you break," Reid said. "That's part of it, and where they are, where they're located. Brian's a quick healer, normally. I think that's the case here. I think he's on schedule."

Reid added that Westbrook seems like he's feeling fine, that there isn't that "grinding" that comes with broken ribs and that he should be fit to play against Atlanta. The bigger question in Reid's mind is whether or not Westbrook will be up to game speed.

"He does (look good), with the exception of playing in the game," Reid said. "He hasn't done that for a while here. He feels good and he's was able to put a hard week of practice in and take all the reps there. We'll see how he adjusts during the game."

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