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T.O. won't get M.D.'s OK to play



Published: Wed, January 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Terrell Owens is determined to be in uniform Feb. 6.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Terrell Owens' doctor said Tuesday he will not give the All-Pro receiver clearance to play in the Super Bowl.

Owens saw his doctor Tuesday, one day after telling reporters he would play against the New England Patriots on Feb. 6.

Dr. Mark Myerson said he's pleased with Owens' recuperation, but maintains the surgery requires a recovery period of eight to 10 weeks. Myerson said in a statement Tuesday night that any attempt to accelerate the rehabilitation process poses the same risk for injury.

Owens said he plans to be in uniform for the Eagles in Jacksonville, Fla. The Eagles' doctors and training staff should have the final say on Owens' status.

"Spiritually I've been healed and I believe that I'll be out there on that field Sunday, regardless of what anybody says," Owens said Monday night, before going to Baltimore for his weekly checkup with Myerson.

Wanted to test ankle

Owens was expected to test his injured ankle on the field this week and could try running as early as today.

Myerson inserted two screws in Owens' right ankle and a plate on the outside of the ankle three days after he was injured against Dallas on Dec. 19. By not clearing Owens to play, Myerson is absolved of any blame should Owens go against his wishes and then re-injure the ankle.

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. He rehabbed vigorously and insisted he's going to play.

"You can't deny the man the ball," Owens said while sitting courtside at a 76ers game against Miami on Monday.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb and other Eagles have said they don't need Owens to beat the defending champion Patriots, who are 7-point favorites.

"We can win it without T.O. But, if he is there, we can win it with him and we are definitely going to try to win it without him," McNabb said one day after leading the Eagles to a 27-10 victory over Atlanta in the NFC championship game. "I think he will be back. But, if he can't be back, we have to continue this ship home."

The Eagles are 2-0 without Owens in games that matter. They lost the last two regular season games in which most starters hardly played and others were rested.

Distraction

While the offense hasn't been dominant, they've scored 27 points in each of the playoff games. Though none of the players will admit it, it's possible Owens' return could be more of a distraction than a benefit, especially if he's not able to play at 100 percent.

"I am getting tired of that question," wideout Greg Lewis said when asked if the Eagles proved they can win without Owens.

"We won last week, we won the previous week, it doesn't matter. T.O. is part of the team, but he's not here right now. We're trying to go on and not proving to anyone we can win without T.O. We're trying to win the Super Bowl."

Owens was back on the sideline against the Falcons, only this time he served as head cheerleader, flapping his arms, waving a towel and encouraging the crowd to make more noise.

He jogged onto the field and pumped up the crowd during pregame introductions, and jumped around on the bench during the game.

Outleaping defenders and escaping tackles won't be as easy.

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.




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