Donovan McNabb's next chance to be the Eagles' quarterback figures to come Sunday against the New York Giants.
"I think there's a pretty good chance," head coach Andy Reid said after the Eagles' 28-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks yesterday.
McNabb, who has missed the last two games with a sprained right ankle, watched from the sideline at Lincoln Financial Field as backup A.J. Feeley threw four interceptions, including one with seconds remaining that sealed the Eagles' second straight defeat.
Although the loss left the Eagles with a 5-7 record with just four games to play, McNabb still has a chance to lead his team on a possible postseason run. The Eagles remained one game behind in the race for the final wild-card playoff spot.
Minnesota, Detroit and Arizona are all 6-6 and a game in front of the Eagles.
Eagles safety Brian Dawkins was asked if McNabb's return would be a lift for the team.
"I believe it will," he said. "Donovan being healthy and being able to do what he does on the field, hopefully that will be one of the things that allows us to get on a run."
Running back Brian Westbrook also said he looks forward to McNabb's return.
"I hope Donovan comes in and is himself," Westbrook said. "He brings another spark to our offense that already is OK. We're a team that needs a little lift right now."
Cornerback Lito Sheppard was struggling in coverage for most of the game, then left in the third quarter when he aggravated the left-knee injury that has dogged him for most of the season.
"Lito irritated his knee," Reid said. "It looks like it's structurally sound, but we'll have to see how that goes."
After he slowed up on his coverage of Deion Branch on an incomplete pass early in the third quarter, Sheppard was addressed by Reid, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and secondary coach John Harbaugh.
Cornerback Sheldon Brown said he was trying to help Sheppard in coverage on the Seahawks' next offensive series, which ended with a 45-yard touchdown run by Maurice Morris.
Sheppard suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee on opening day in Green Bay and missed four games after that. The condition of his knee appeared to be improving in recent weeks, but this was an obvious setback. He was not available for comment after the game.
Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley missed the game with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury he suffered late in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' loss at New England.
Bunkley, listed as questionable on Friday's injury report, had practiced only in a limited capacity during the week. Reid said the second-year player had suffered hamstring spasms that were related to the knee injury.
It was the first time this season that Bunkley missed a game and the first time in his NFL career that he missed a game because of an injury. Bunkley missed one game as a rookie when he was benched for missing the team charter to Indianapolis.
Kimo von Oelhoffen, a 14-year veteran, started in Bunkley's place, which was surprising because he had not dressed for a game since Week 3 when the Eagles beat the Detroit Lions. The Eagles had dressed just three true defensive tackles in the last four weeks, with LaJuan Ramsey joining Bunkley and Mike Patterson. Defensive end Darren Howard has been playing defensive tackle in passing situations for the entire season; he has seen more time at tackle than he has at end.
As expected, McNabb (sprained right ankle) and safety Quintin Mikell (sprained right knee ligament) were also inactive because of injuries.
Running back Tony Hunt, guards Max Jean-Gilles and Scott Young, defensive end Victor Abiamiri and defensive tackle Montae Reagor were the Eagles' other inactive players.
Brown ended the Eagles' 10-quarter turnover drought by forcing a fumble and coming up with an interception in the third quarter.
Brown's interception was the Eagles' first in 16 quarters, dating from the second quarter of their loss to Dallas when Sheppard picked off a Tony Romo pass.
The Eagles still lost the turnover battle to the Seahawks, 4-2, and are now minus-9 in turnover differential for the season. The 2005 season has been the only one during the Reid era when the Eagles have had a negative turnover differential at the end of the season. That team finished minus-7 and went 6-10.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the National League MVP, received a brief standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd with seven seconds left before halftime. . . . Brown said the field conditions were poor, but it was because of the weather and not the newly installed sod at the Linc. "The footing was horrendous," Brown said. "I saw a million guys change studs on the sidelines. It was just the weather. The sleet, the rain messed up the field. Both teams were dealing with the same adversity."
Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis caught six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown and now has 57 catches for a career-high 904 yards. . . . Linebacker Takeo Spikes registered his first sack in an Eagles uniform. . . . Defensive end Trent Cole had a half-sack in the first quarter, giving him 91/2 sacks for the season. He has not had a full sack since the Eagles' Oct. 28 victory in Minnesota.