Saturday, November 1, 2003

Tough guy Favre just gets it done



By Arnie Stapleton
The Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Brett Favre has a broken thumb, and that could mean he's ready for a big game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Eight times during his career, the Green Bay Packers' apparently indestructible quarterback has been hurt so badly his availability for the following game was in question.

Eight times he played - and played well. He's 6-2 in those games with 15 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

"My experience in the past with Brett is that it affects him more positively because he focuses better and overcomes it and plays better," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said.

In what many consider the best game of his career, Favre threw five touchdown passes against Chicago in 1995 with a severely sprained left ankle so heavily taped he could hardly move.

He even played well enough to win the two games he lost, throwing for 402 yards against the Bears in 1993 despite a bruised left thigh and for 288 yards against Detroit in 1999 with a lacerated right thumb.

"I think he takes on a challenge when you don't think he can do something better than anyone else around him," Rossley said.

Favre, who broke his thumb on his second pass attempt at St. Louis on Oct. 19, has gradually increased his throws at practice this week after taking eight days off thanks to the Packers' bye week.

Vikings coach Mike Tice doesn't expect to see anything less than Favre's best on Sunday.

"Are you kidding me? He wears a cape," Tice said. "If it was somebody else, I'd say yeah. But he's unbelievable."

Favre has made 197 consecutive NFL starts, a record for a quarterback.

"Regardless of what people may think, I'm no different than the next guy," Favre said. "When I hurt my knee last year, I come back and play and it's almost like, 'Ah, he wasn't that hurt.' But it hurt. It hurt for a while."

And he's sure his thumb will, too.

"Every throw I made against St. Louis, it hurt after the fact," Favre said. "But when you're into a game, before you know it, it's over. You just kind of block it out for that two- or three-second span."

Favre completed 23 of 32 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams, then learned the next day he had played with a broken thumb almost the entire game.

Favre will wear a splint or a sheath against the Vikings at the insistence of team doctors who are worried he'll do further damage.

The medical staff wants him to sit out, Favre said. But this is a crossroads game for the Packers (3-4), who would fall four games behind the Vikings (6-1) with a loss.

"I want to play because I think I can help this team win, not because I'm trying to be a tough guy or extend some streak," Favre said.




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