Eagles Notes

As if the Eagles didn't have enough problems on offense, backup running back

Correll Buckhalter

said yesterday that he would not be available for Thursday's game against Arizona because of a sprained medial collateral ligament.

Buckhalter was injured during the Eagles' third possession of Sunday's loss to Baltimore, during which he had back-to-back runs of 8 yards.

Buckhalter's absence is significant because

Brian Westbrook

has been slowed by a swollen knee and sore ankle, and he's not likely to be much healthier with only three days between games.

With Buckhalter out, the Eagles will go with seldom-used

Lorenzo Booker

as Westbrook's backup. Booker was placed on the inactive list the last three games and has 16 carries this season.

Coach Andy Reid said

Kyle Eckel

might be the third running back. Eckel, a native of Haverford, was signed in October.

Westbrook, who didn't practice last week but played against the Ravens, didn't practice yesterday. Neither did cornerback

Asante Samuel

, who left Sunday's game in the third quarter with a stinger.

"He's hurt," Reid said of Westbrook. "It's nothing that he's going to further hurt, so the knee will be a part of it as long as he plays. The ankle isn't something he's going to make worse if he plays. There's certain things he can do and do well, and we'll utilize him in those situations."

Even though Westbrook didn't practice last week, Reid dressed only two running backs for the game against Baltimore.

Mum's the word

Following practice yesterday, the Eagles were in no mood to address the quarterback issue after Reid announced that

Donovan McNabb

would start against the Cardinals.

Instead, the Eagles saved some of their best moves to escape the media horde.

"We have a lot of confidence in all our quarterbacks," safety

Quintin Mikell

said. "Donovan's been here a long time, and we have a lot of confidence in him."

Mikell said despite the Eagles' 5-5-1 record and slim hopes of making the playoffs, they will push forward.

"We're not mathematically eliminated, and as long as we're there, I feel we'll go out and play well," he said. "I know we've got guys who will come out ready to play."

Here and there

Reid said tight end

L.J. Smith

will likely return to the starting lineup against Arizona. . . . The Cardinals are 0-3 playing in the Eastern time zone this season. Arizona and the four teams that play in the Pacific time zone - San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Oakland - are a combined 0-14. . . . The Eagles added receiver

Drisan James

to the practice squad to replace

Willie Reed

, who suffered a broken leg and was placed on injured reserve. James is from Boise State. He was on Oakland's practice squad last season. . . .

DeSean Jackson

is closing in on the Eagles' rookie record for most receptions by a wide receiver, 58, set by

Don Looney

in 1940. Jackson has a team-high 47 catches. . . .

Victor Abiamiri

became the 15th Eagle to record a sack when he dropped Ravens quarterback

Joe Flacco

. The Eagles lead the NFL with 38 sacks. . . . The Eagles rank 26th in the league in rushing. The other NFC East teams - Giants, Redskins and Cowboys - rank first, third and 16th, respectively.

- Ray Parrillo
and Bob Brookover