Eagles still expected to start Kolb at QB with Vick on mend

Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid hasn't ruled out Michael Vick for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, the quarterback's former team.

Kevin Kolb is expected to start in place of Vick, who is recovering from a rib cartilage injury. However, Reid said Wednesday that Vick could return to practice by the end of the week. If that doesn't happen, the former Pro Bowl quarterback would miss his second consecutive game.

"(Vick is) still recovering," Reid said. "He started to lift some, but he's not throwing. We'll just see how he progresses. Kevin will take the reps at practice."

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Vick was hurt during the first quarter of the Eagles' Oct. 3 loss to the Washington Redskins and missed last Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers, when Kolb led the team to victory. Vick could sit out next weekend's road game against the Tennessee Titans, too, because the Eagles have a bye week after that.

Vick was asked Wednesday if his participation in this weekend's game was unlikely.

"I wouldn't say that," he said, per *The Philadelphia Inquirer*.

Vick, who didn't practice Wednesday, told the newspaper he has his "throwing motion back" and that being on the field is "just being able to deal with (the injury) and working out the kinks."

Kolb began the season as the Eagles' starter, then was relegated to Vick's backup after suffering a concussion during the Sept. 12 season opener against the Green Bay Packers. Reid praised Vick as "one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now" after the former Falcons star was exceptional in Kolb's place during the loss to the Packers and in a Week 2 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Vick told the Inquirer that he could play Sunday even if he didn't practice this week, but facing the Falcons -- who released him in June 2009 after he served jail time following a conviction for running a dogfighting ring -- doesn't add incentive to return to the field.

"There's no extra motivation just because it's Atlanta week. I feel like we passed that last year," said Vick, who accounted for two touchdowns -- one passing, one rushing -- in a 34-7 victory over the Falcons last season. "It's just another football game against a tough opponent."

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Kolb vowed the uncertainty over Vick's status wouldn't affect his preparation for Sunday's game.

"It's exactly the same (whether you're starting or not), and that's the way you have to approach it," Kolb said. "Obviously, we did something somewhat right last week, so that's the way I want to stay and make sure I'm totally prepared if something were to happen."

In other injury news, Eagles defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley will skip surgery after hurting his elbow Sunday and try to make it back on the field in a few weeks. Bunkley is expected to be listed as doubtful against the Falcons.

"Originally, it looked like he needed surgery," Reid said. "After the doctors met, it was decided let's give him an opportunity to rehab, brace it up and give him some time. It's a stretch for him to go this week, but we'll see from there."

Reid said veteran defensive tackles Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon will rotate in place of Bunkley next to starter Mike Patterson.

"It's a loss, a huge loss," Patterson said. "The guys who are the backups have to step up now. Trevor and Dixon, they have to come up big for us."

Left tackle Jason Peters tore the meniscus in his knee in Sunday's victory and will have arthroscopic surgery Thursday. There wasn't a timetable for Peters' return, and third-year veteran King Dunlap will make his first career start in the NFL.

"I have confidence in King," Reid said. "There were a few plays last week he'd like to have back. I'm sure he would tell you that. But he did OK."

Running back LeSean McCoy, who played last week with a broken rib and gained 138 total yards against San Francisco, sat out of practice but is expected back by the end of the week. One of his blockers, left guard Todd Herremans, also sat out with a sore knee but expects to be back on the field as soon as Thursday.

Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel and backup wide receiver Riley Cooper were back at practice Wednesday. Both missed last Sunday's game after concussions.

The Eagles have seen 11 players miss game with injuries this season, including starting center Jamaal Jackson and fullback Leonard Weaver, who are on season-ending injured reserve.

"Crazy, isn't it?" Patterson said. "Maybe they'll rethink that extension (of 18 games) to the season."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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