Brian Westbrook

didn't practice yesterday.

No reason to raise a red flag about that. The Eagles' star running back has missed many practices this season to let an assortment of ailments heal as much as possible before game day.

During his weekly trip to the podium at the NovaCare Complex, Westbrook talked about the benefits of resting his swollen left knee and the ankle he sprained in Week 3 against Pittsburgh. He also spoke of the frustration of not being 100 percent.

"In any game you go into, you're going to be frustrated that you are not 100 percent, but I've been battling injuries all year long," Westbrook said. "I continue to be positive that I can do the things that I need to do to help this team."

After leaving the podium, Westbrook spoke briefly with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, who later reported that the running back had told him he "reinjured" his knee during the Eagles' NFC playoff win against the New York Giants. At Westbrook's request, the word reinjured was changed to tweaked, which Paolantonio said was the word originally used by the running back during their conversation.

According to an Eagles source, Westbrook's condition isn't much different from what it has been for weeks, and there's no question he will play in Sunday's NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals. Westbrook ran for 110 yards and scored four touchdowns during the teams' first meeting on Thanksgiving.

"I haven't had the games I've wanted to have these last two games, so I'm definitely waiting for a breakout game," Westbrook said.

Hello, neighbors

Arizona resident

Donovan McNabb

isn't just going against the Cardinals in Sunday's NFC title game, he's also going against some of his neighbors and friends.

"Ken Whisenhunt, the head coach, is a guy that lives a couple of doors down from me," McNabb said. "[Safety] Adrian Wilson lives a couple of doors down from me. [Defensive end] Bertrand Berry is a guy that I communicate with frequently, and [wide receiver] Larry Fitzgerald. I have some friends on the team, and we talk consistently. I'm just really happy with the success that they've had and happy about this opportunity."

Whisenhunt was asked how McNabb conducts himself as a neighbor.

"He's a good neighbor," the Cardinals coach said. "He definitely outkicked his coverage as far as his wife goes. He's very friendly. He's been very kind to my wife and my daughter. He's just a genuine nice guy."

More on McNabb

A source close to the McNabbs said that

Deion Sanders'

continued references to his close relationship with the quarterback's mother,

Wilma

, are greatly exaggerated. Sanders, an NFL Network studio analyst, has made several references that the quarterback wants to leave Philadelphia after this season and that the fans' treatment of McNabb has made Wilma cry.

The playoff tree

It's mid-January, and do you know where the Christmas tree the Eagles put up in their media relations office is?

It's still standing in their office.

Not that they're superstitious or anything, but you know that tree isn't coming down until this Eagles run is over.

It's now referred to as the "playoff tree."

Speaking of superstitions, coach Andy Reid was asked yesterday whether he had any.

"I'm not superstitious at all," he said. "I eat."

But what about his playoff beard?

"It wasn't a superstitious thing," he said. "It was something that Brian [Dawkins] asked me to do. If he would have asked me to stop eating, I'd be 120 pounds right now."

Extra points

Tackle

Jon Runyan

sat out of practice with a sprained right knee. Receiver

Jason Avant

(hyperextended knee), running back

Correll Buckhalter

(sore knee), guard

Shawn Andrews

(back), and

Dawkins (sore back) were limited at practice. Reid said that Andrews probably would not dress for Sunday's game. Defensive end

Victor Abiamiri

(foot), linebacker

Stewart Bradley

(rib), safety

Quintin Demps

(quadriceps) and fullback

Dan Klecko

(shoulder) also were listed on the injury report but were full practice participants.

- Bob Brookover