Harrington to start for Falcons in place of injured Leftwich

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Joey Harrington will start at quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons against the Indianapolis Colts after Byron Leftwich missed practice on Tuesday with a bruised tailbone.

The Falcons (3-7) host the Colts (8-2) on Thursday night.

Coach Bobby Petrino sidestepped whether Harrington will remain as Atlanta's starter for the rest of the season.

"Well, what we're doing, since this is such a short week, is we're worrying about the Indy game right now," Petrino said. "We have a little break after that, and we'll see how everything goes."

Since Petrino benched Harrington in Week 7, Leftwich is 0-2 as a starter. He missed two games with ankle injuries.

Petrino indicated Leftwich departed Atlanta's 31-7 loss to Tampa Bay last week because of an injury. The fifth-year veteran completed 15 of 28 passes for 106 yards. He also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that Ronde Barber returned for a touchdown.

After calling trainer Ron Medlin when he returned home on Sunday night, Leftwich arrived early the next day at the team's training complex. Petrino said X-rays were negative.

The Falcons are 3-5 in games Harrington has started, but the sixth-year veteran helped Atlanta win two straight before Leftwich returned from ankle surgery.

If Leftwich can't practice on Wednesday, Chris Redman will be Harrington's backup.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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