Neither cornerback Sheldon Brown nor running back Brian Westbrook was on the field for the Eagles' almost-full-squad workout yesterday at the NovaCare Complex.

Brown's ongoing ailment was his contract.

Westbrook's injury was to his right ankle, and was a new and potentially important development.

"I wish I could tell you more, but I don't know more right this minute," coach Andy Reid said of Westbrook. "But we'll know more as we go on here the next couple of days."

Westbrook has played through pain often, including last season, when a high right-ankle sprain and chronic soreness in his left knee contributed to a significant drop in production.

If he has more pain in the ankle in the off-season, it obviously is not a positive development. Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee shortly after the Eagles' NFC title game loss to the Arizona Cardinals in January.

"His knee is feeling good," Reid said. "So, yeah, it's just his ankle at the moment."

Westbrook sprained the ankle in Week 3 last season, against Pittsburgh. The injury forced him to miss a game and lingered awhile, but was eventually overshadowed at the end of the season by the soreness in his knee.

As for Brown, he had said he was unhappy about both his contract and the way team president Joe Banner had handled the situation. He did not return phone or text messages yesterday, but told Hugh Douglas of Fox29 that he wasn't at the workout for personal reasons. Brown, who was at his home in South Carolina, said he planned to attend training camp.

"I expected him not to be here," fellow cornerback Joselio Hanson said. "Last year, Lito [Sheppard] wasn't here, so this year it's the same thing with Sheldon."

Brown has four years left on a six-year contract extension he signed in 2004. Comcast SportsNet reported in May that Brown and Banner had aired their differences, but a problem still exists.

"You have to remember that these aren't mandatory camps, these are voluntary camps," Reid said. "He makes that choice. Sheldon is doing what Sheldon thinks he needs to do.

"I wish he was here, yes. If you're not here, then you give other people an opportunity to show it. I remember Jon Runyan saying over and over . . . that 'I'm not going to miss one snap because it gives another guy a chance to step in there.' That's the truth."

With Brown missing, Ellis Hobbs, a 16-game starter in New England the last two seasons, worked with the first team at right cornerback opposite former Patriots teammate Asante Samuel.

"For him to be here as little time as he has, he has picked up the defense so quickly and he's done a good job," safety Quintin Mikell said of Hobbs.

Mikell, however, said he fully expects Brown to return as the starter when the Eagles go to training camp next month at Lehigh University.

"He's a great teammate and I know what he can do," Mikell said. "I know he's working hard. It is unfortunate the situation that we're in, but all we can do is worry about everybody that is here. He handles his business.

"You can never be surprised by what happens in this business. At the end of the day, I know Sheldon is working his butt off."

At running back, the seldom-used Lorenzo Booker and rookie LeSean McCoy worked with quarterback Donovan McNabb and the first-team offense.

"It was surprising," McCoy said. "It was a tad faster" than rookie camp. "Every team is a little faster. It was pretty cool. Donovan McNabb was the quarterback, and that's still mind-blowing.

"I think they were giving me a chance to work with the ones and the twos to see how I'd react."