The news Tuesday on Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel was mixed. The Pro Bowler was back at practice but was limited in the last full session before Thursday night's game against the Houston Texans.

"I don't know" if Samuel will play, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said after practice. "We'll see. He was out there a little bit today and it's a day-to-day thing."

He added: "He looked a lot better than yesterday, and we'll welcome him back when he's ready."

Samuel, recovering from a sprained left knee, didn't say much after practice. "Working hard to get better every day," he said.

The Eagles missed Samuel on Sunday, when they allowed four passing touchdowns to Jay Cutler.

Defensive end Juqua Parker (hip) sat out practice again. He hasn't practiced since the win over the Giants on Nov. 21. Wide receiver Riley Cooper (knee) sat out for the second straight day.


NFL weekdays consist of strict routines, except for weeks such as this one, when the Eagles have three days - not six - to prepare for a game.

"You're having to cram three or four days of practice into two days," said safety Nate Allen. "The coaches don't have a lot of time to go over it with you. That's where you've got to be a pro and just look at tape yourself."

Several players said they were sore after returning to practice without their usual recovery time, but that condition holds for both teams. The Eagles, at least, don't have to fly, as the Texans do.

There is less time to study film and install game plans, though assistants researched the Texans earlier this season in anticipation of this game.

Coach Andy Reid said coaches would pull back physically and be careful to not overload players mentally.

"There's not enough time to digest everything, so you either use the things that you didn't use last week or things that they're familiar with," Reid said.

Safety Quintin Mikell said the scheme means less this week.

"It's more about just playing football and letting us play. I think that's fun, man," Mikell said.

Wide receiver Jason Avant played down any challenges of the short week, saying essentially that playing football is what the team does.

"Football is football. It's whoever's mind is together," Avant said. "We're football players and we're going to play football. Earlier."

Refunds for 2011

The NFL will refund general-admission tickets for any preseason and regular-season games canceled by a work stoppage in 2011, the league announced Tuesday.

The leaguewide policy applies to general-admission tickets. Individual teams will decide how to handle refunds for club seats, suites, and personal-seat licenses.

The Eagles have not decided how to handle such cases, noting that a lockout may not occur.

"This is a short week for us and we are concentrating all of our efforts on what is going to happen this Thursday," Eagles spokeswoman Pamela Browner White said. "When appropriate, we'll deal with the issue. At the end of the day, it may or may not be an issue that we have to deal with at all."

Break time

The benefit of playing Thursday is that the Eagles should have a long rest afterward. Players are scheduled to be off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The defensive line will fill some of the time with its rookie dinner - with first-round pick Brandon Graham expected to pick up a first-round-size portion of the tab, though fellow rookies on the line may also chip in. The group will start at the Capital Grille and move on from there.

Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley dropped about $50,000 when he was a rookie in 2006, Graham said. He said he'll have his credit card ready.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or