JEREMY MACLIN is expected to practice when the Eagles reconvene tomorrow, Andy Reid said.

Reid didn't want to say the rookie wideout definitely will return to the lineup for Sunday's matchup against the Denver Broncos.

"We'll see how he does at practice and ease him back in," the Eagles' coach said.

Maclin left the Dec. 13 Giants game in the first quarter when the plantar faciitis problem in his left foot escalated into a tear of one plantar fascia strand. He sat out Sunday's victory over San Francisco. Reid originally estimated the tear as a 1-to-2-week injury.

With Maclin sitting Sunday, knee-injury victim Kevin Curtis got back on the field for the first time since Game 2. Curtis caught one pass for 7 yards.

The lost time probably has cost Maclin a chance at DeSean Jackson's Eagles rookie wideout record of 62 catches, set last season. The overall rookie record belongs to tight end Keith Jackson, who caught 81 passes in 1988.

Try again, Alex

Questioners asked Andy Reid yesterday about that timeout he called Sunday, 36 seconds before halftime, with the 49ers facing second-and-3 from their 27. At the time, it made little sense - Reid wasn't going to force a punt before the half, why in the world would you give the other team an extra shot at getting within field-goal range?

The answer speculated upon in the press box was that Reid wanted his defense to have as many shots at picking off Alex Smith passes as it could get. That couldn't be the real reason, could it?

Well, yeah, it could.

"There were a couple of things that went into that," Reid said. "First of all, their quarterback was struggling just a little bit at that time. They were struggling to get their 2-minute going, and there wasn't a lot of time left on the clock. They had a couple of timeouts left. I heard them try to get the check called and try to get everybody lined up, so I knew it was a pass. I put the timeout on, the defense came over, told them what they were going to do and they did it. It worked out OK. Normally there wouldn't be something like that, but this one worked out OK. Sometimes you look OK, sometimes you don't."

First snap after the timeout, Smith was about to be hauled down by Juqua Parker, so he lobbed the ball up, over intended receiver Frank Gore, straight into the arms of Eagles linebacker Tracy White. The Birds were able to add three points before halftime.

Seattle situation

Andy Reid said he had not heard from the Seattle Seahawks regarding a possible interview for general manager Tom Heckert. ESPN mentioned Heckert as one of three potential Seattle GM candidates. Presumably, the move would be a promotion for Heckert because he would have final say on personnel, which Reid has with the Eagles.

Reid said the switch in tone on Heckert over the past few years has to do with the natural progress of Heckert's career - several years ago, the Eagles seemed to go to great lengths to keep from losing Heckert, but last offseason they began touting him for jobs elsewhere. Reid said that like with a coach, there's a point when it's time for a guy to get his own gig and he believes Heckert is ready.

Shotgun start

One thing LeSean McCoy liked about Sunday's game plan was that shotgun handoff play, where McCoy then goes off tackle, a play the Eagles used several times. McCoy carried nine times for 48 yards, 5.3 yards per carry.

"That's one of my favorite plays," McCoy said afterward, "because it's a reading play. I really love to read schemes. It's kind of a vision play."


Didn't sound terribly encouraging for Michael Vick this week, in Andy Reid's assessment the day after Vick suffered a thigh bruise being tackled by Michael Lewis. "Michael Vick has a quad contusion. We got on it right away during the game, and then after the game he was taking care of it, too. We'll see how he does," Reid said. "It's pretty sore right now" . . . Quintin Demps is day-to-day with an ankle sprain, Reid said. Demps' 48-yard return of the opening kickoff got the Birds headed toward their opening-drive TD . . . Trent Cole is one away from his career high of 12 1/2 sacks.