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Panthers' Carr confident he'll be healthy to play against Colts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- David Carr thinks he'll be healthy enough to play for the Carolina Panthers when they return from their bye week. He also thinks he should be the starter ahead of Vinny Testaverde.

"If I feel good, hopefully I'll be able to go out there and give our team a chance to win," Carr said Wednesday.

Carr shrugged off questions of a quarterback controversy with the 43-year-old Testaverde, who replaced an injured Carr on Sunday against Arizona and led the Panthers to a 25-10 win four days after he was signed.

Coach John Fox helped fuel the Testaverde talk this week when he refused to name Carr the starter if his sore back is recovered in time for the Oct. 28 game against Indianapolis.

Carr insisted that didn't bother him.

"Not at all. Now the Colts don't know. Let's play the game within the game, you know?" Carr said. "Who knows who's going to play? I don't even know if Steve (Smith) is going to play in the Indy game. He told me today he didn't know if he really wanted to play. We'll see what happens."

Carr appeared confident he'll be the guy. He said there's a "100 percent chance" he'll be healthy by the Indianapolis game, a team Carr faced twice every season when he was a starter in Houston.

Carr said having a bye week before facing the Super Bowl champions was part of his decision to sit out the Arizona game.

"That's why I didn't go, to have this week to recover and rest so I can get a full week of practice going into Indy," Carr said. "I played Indy a couple of times, I know what it takes. You've got to be sharp."

But is Carr the best option for the Panthers after Testaverde's effort? Fox remained mum on the subject Wednesday, while a few lockers down from Carr, Testaverde insisted he'd be fine in either role.

"If called upon to start the game, I'll do my best," Testaverde said. "And if called upon to come in off the bench, I'll also try and do my best."

Testaverde has been bombarded with interview requests since he became the oldest starting quarterback in NFL history to win a game. It set off an unlikely quarterback quandary for the Panthers, who lost starter Jake Delhomme to a season-ending elbow injury last week.

"Very surprised, but you never know," Testaverde said of the past week of his life. "You try to come in and do what you can. Right now for this team, and me, good things are happening."

Testaverde was forced into duty because of Carr's back injury that he suffered in the win in New Orleans on Oct. 7. Carr said he's still suffering back spasms, and the four-hour flights to and from Phoenix caused him trouble.

"I probably could have gone out there and tried to play, but I'd have just hurt the team," Carr said. "I didn't come here to lose games. I came here to win and be a part of something special. I've got a feeling we can do something like that around here, so I don't want to hurt our chances."

Testaverde, who threw for 206 yards, including the go-ahead 65-yard touchdown pass to Smith in the fourth quarter, helped the Panthers improve to 4-2. Carr, who like Testaverde was the No. 1 pick in the draft -- although 15 years later -- joined the chorus of people impressed with what Testaverde accomplished.

"It was awesome. He stepped in and did exactly what they asked him to do and got us a W," Carr said. "Honestly, with the way I felt, it would have been suspect if we would have gotten that W."

Now the question for Fox is, will Testaverde or Carr give them the best chance to be competitive when they'll be big underdogs in two weeks against the Colts?

Carr wouldn't be drawn into the controversy Wednesday.

"That's what this is all for, the circus. That's you guys," Carr said, referring to reporters circled around him. "If you guys make that decision, you let me know. I'll be on the edge of my seat I'm sure."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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