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Owens returns to Eagles' drills



Published: Tue, February 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The All-Pro receiver "looks great" at his return to practice.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- T.O. is almost a go.

Terrell Owens, the Philadelphia Eagles' All-Pro receiver, practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his ankle last month, moving closer toward returning for the Super Bowl.

"I won't say anything outside of 'He looks great. He looks great. He looks great,' " Eagles safety Michael Lewis said.

Owens took part in less than one-third of the team's 30 plays, getting a pass each time he ran a route. Just last week, Dr. Mark Myerson, the surgeon who operated on Owens' right ankle in December, said he would not clear him to suit up against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

"We limited what he did, but he did it well, and he did it with the team," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He moved around pretty well. I'll have to see how he does before we decide whether he'll play."

Ankle injury was a big blow

Owens hasn't played since he severely sprained his ankle and broke his leg in a game against Dallas on Dec. 19. He's expected to be on the field when the Eagles resume practice on Wednesday.

In his first season with the Eagles after eight years in San Francisco, Owens led Philadelphia with 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs.

"It's always a lift when you can get anyone out there, an added weapon," quarterback Donovan McNabb said. "He did make some big plays for us. He did an excellent job of coming in and presenting a different type of feel for our passing attack."

Myerson inserted two screws in Owens' ankle and a plate on the outside of the ankle three days after he was injured. Owens was told after surgery that he had only an outside chance of returning for the Super Bowl, which was 61/2 weeks away at the time. But he rehabbed vigorously, hoping to help Philadelphia win its first NFL championship since 1960.

After a checkup last week in Baltimore, Myerson said that while he's pleased with Owens' recuperation, the operation requires a recovery period of eight to 10 weeks. Myerson added that any attempt to accelerate the rehabilitation process poses the same risk for injury.

The final decision on Owens' status will come down to the player, Reid and the team's medical staff.

"Could the same injury occur? Yes," Reid said. "But he won't damage it any further than he already has."

Will speak today

Owens wasn't available for comment. He's supposed to take part in today's interview sessions.

The injury to Owens was a devastating blow for a team that dominated the NFC and clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference after just 14 games. Owens invigorated the Eagles with his attitude, enthusiasm and stellar performance, adding a swagger to a team that desperately needed a personality.

With him, the offense was extremely potent, averaging 25.4 points in 14 games. After Owens was injured, the Eagles lost the last two regular season games in which most starters hardly played and others were rested.

"He looked good running routes," center Hank Fraley said. "You have to account for him when he is on the field because he is a playmaker."




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