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Donovan McNabb returned to practice this week.  For all of you worrying types that think he will have the same problems returning as Daunte Culpepper, 'For Get About It'.

June 2007

Donovan McNabb hit the practice field on June 12th for the first time since tearing his right ACL against the Tennessee Titans on November 19.  He participated in 11 on 11 and 7 on 7 drills dropping back fluidly.  The scene was great, but I received many cautious calls and later emails from Eagles fans wondering if McNabb was rushing back too soon from his torn ACL ala Daunte Culpepper circa 2006.  My answer in a word is "No".  Culpepper first of all needed the extra recovery time that he didn't take because he tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL in a horrific play at the end of 2005.  The injury ended a horrible year for the Vikings including the "Love Boat" fiasco and the firing of Head Coach Mike Tice. With Vikings owner Zyggi Wilff pushing him out the door, Culpepper did not take the rehab time needed before he was traded to the Dolphins.  There were also whispers of Culpepper not attacking his rehab the way he should have and that he made his it difficult by not training in Minnesota with his doctors and trainers before he was traded.  Former Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban also hurt the situation by pushing Culpepper to justify trading a 2nd Rounder for him.  Culpepper looked good losing weight and putting on his old college number 8 in preseason, but he was not the same player once the real bullets started flying.  He was sacked 21 times in 4 regular season games and was extremely tentative before being shut down for the year. 

I went  over Culpepper's lengthy rehab history to show that McNabb is not Culpepper !!  McNabb first and foremost has the full backing of his Owner (Jeff Lurie), Head Coach (Reid), trainer (Burkholder) and teammates.  Everyone is in his corner and they want him to succeed.  They have provided an atmosphere at the Nova Care complex that lets McNabb work back slowly and according to his schedule.  McNabb said after his first practice "It's just part of the rehab process and hopefully good things will continue to come. It is important to continue to monitor my progress, but also be smart about the whole situation", which speaks volumes of how he is approaching his rehab.  McNabb also has his own management team at CSMG led by Fletcher Smith, who also will give him the necessary guidance in his rehab and comeback.  Conversely Culpepper serving as his own agent could not be the outside voice of reason for himself.

In seeing McNabb's strength and fortitude over the years, I believe he will take the necessary steps to return to the field healthy.  I fully expect him to be ready for training camp and he should be on schedule to appear in the August 26th preseason game at Pittsburgh.  He has been through injuries before and I expect him to lead the Eagles into the playoffs similarly to his 2003 performance comeback from a broken ankle.  If you want to compare McNabb in his rehab, forget about the Culpepper comparisons and look to how Bengals QB Carson Palmer responded from his 2005 knee tear.  He too returned ahead of schedule and played at the end of the preseason.  As the season went on he got stronger and he cameback with 4,000 yards passing Pro Bowl season.

If you don't believe me, see for yourself by viewing some footage of McNabb's first practice.

-- Submitted by Lloyd Vance



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