MRI reveals good news for Eagles: Westbrook has ankle strain

PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Westbrook limped around without crutches Monday. He could be back to running and slashing this week.

The All-Pro running back is day to day with a strained ankle, encouraging news for a Philadelphia Eagles team that can't afford to lose its top offensive player.

"My goal is to come back and play as soon as possible," Westbrook said on his radio show on 950 ESPN on Monday night. "I'm going to do everything it takes.

"It's painful. It's going to be painful. You have ligaments and tendons in there that may have been sprained."

Westbrook injured his right ankle while hurdling a teammate on a 2-yard run on the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's 15-6 win over Pittsburgh. He walked to the locker room without help, but didn't return and left the stadium on crutches.

An MRI revealed no torn ligaments, coach Andy Reid said.

"I'm sure it'll be a race to get him ready for Sunday," Reid said. "We'll see how he does. I think we can manage it."

The versatile Westbrook led the NFL with a franchise-record 2,104 total yards from scrimmage last season and earned his second trip to the Pro Bowl. He signed a new three-year contract in August worth $21 million, including $13 million guaranteed the first two years.

Westbrook scored five touchdowns in the first two games this season. He has 161 yards rushing and 46 more receiving.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb, who missed five plays against the Steelers in the third quarter, has a bruised chest. McNabb, who also had an MRI, is expected to play against Chicago on Sunday night.

"Do I think he'll be sore this week? Yeah, he's sore today," Reid said. "I think he'll progressively get better as the week goes on. We'll see how he does."

A third-round pick out of Division I-AA Villanova in 2002, Westbrook has never played a full season. He's missed 13 games during his seven-year career, including playoffs.

If Westbrook doesn't play, Correll Buckhalter will start in his spot. Buckhalter had 43 yards rushing on 10 carries and caught six passes for 44 yards, including a 20-yard TD, against Pittsburgh.

Lorenzo Booker also would see more action. The Eagles acquired Booker in a draft-day trade with Miami to provide insurance for Westbrook. Booker is a quick runner with elusive skills in the open field.

Two-time Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews (back), fullback Tony Hunt (concussion) and tight end L.J. Smith (back) also are on Philadelphia's injury list. Andrews, who sat out against the Steelers, is day to day, though Reid said his back hasn't improved much. Hunt should be ready to play against the Bears. Smith still needed more evaluation.

Wide receiver Kevin Curtis, sidelined since having surgery for a sports hernia last month, will get some work with the scout team this week.

"We'll see how he feels after that," Reid said.