Brett Favre's NFL-record starting streak of 291 consecutive games appears to be in danger of coming to an end.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said today that the quarterback has two small fractures in his left ankle, but he did not rule Favre out for Sunday's game at New England.
Favre, who had the same ankle surgically repaired in the spring, was injured in the third quarter while throwing the first of his three interceptions in the Vikings' 28-24 loss at Green Bay on Sunday. Favre played the remainder of the game but was having trouble walking after the game. He had an MRI and does not need surgery, according to Childress.
Favre is wearing a walking boot and suffered both an avulsion fracture in his heel bone and also a stress fracture. According to orthopedics.about.com, an avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone in a place where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When an avulsion fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone.
"Once he's functional, he can play," Childress said. "As you know he's had ankle and heel problems for a long time so that walking boot makes him a little bit more comfortable and I wouldn't rule anything out in terms of the end of the week. Don't really have a time-frame work on it."
Childress said he did not know if both fractures happened when Packers linebacker Brad Jones hit Favre as he threw a ball that was picked off by A.J. Hawk. Favre already has thrown 10 interceptions this season -- that is tied with the Saints' Drew Brees for the league lead -- and also has lost four fumbles.
The question now will be, can Favre practice this week? That might be the determining factor in whether he plays against the Patriots. Obviously, if Favre can't play, Tarvaris Jackson will start at quarterback.
Asked about the potential benefit of giving Favre a game off, Childress said: "He's got to be able to all the things that the position does. You can't put a guy that's a sitting duck out there. His competitive nature I'm sure will come into it but a lot of times you have to protect people from themselves. Really I'm taking it day-by-day. He's got great pain threshold and also great competitive zeal."
Favre was at Winter Park on Monday looking at film of the offense with his teammates. Childress said he doesn't know at this point how much practice time he would need to get from Favre for him to play against the Patriots. "It's kind of the chicken and the egg kind of deal," Childress said. "You can't practice if you can't move. He obviously has a feel for the system. My experience, though, is most players need to practice. I know Steve McNair was a rare guy that didn't practice all week and played. But most guys need to do some facet of it. Whether it's your red zone on Friday, your nickel on Thursday. Some of that stuff."
Childress made it clear that Favre's streak does not give him more leeway.
"We have to do what's right for the Minnesota Vikings," Childress said. "That's what I get charged with at the end of the day. I'm not worried about somebody getting one more start or one more yard to equal 300. I think the picture will clear itself up as we go forward."
Childress also said the NFL has told him Visanthe Shiancoe's touchdown Sunday night should not have been overruled, and that if he had challenged the second Packers touchdown to tight end Andrew Quarless that it would have been overruled. Quarless did not appear to have complete possession of the ball as he went to the ground after catch Aaron Rodgers' pass.
"I asked, 'Was it a catch upstairs [to the Vikings assistants who monitor the replays]?' It came back over one replay quickly, they said, 'It looks like a catch.' I thought the timing was much different on that catch that could have been questionable than Shiancoe's. They typically tell you that the timing will be, if there's a question, will hold it on the extra point so guys can get a look at it upstairs. I just thought it went quicker and then it went to a commercial. Obviously by the time you kick the try it's too late [to challenge]. When you get a chance to slow it down and get a look at again.
"Do I wish I would have [challenged]? Yeah, I do wish I would have because I was told it would have been an incomplete pass. Just like I was told this morning that [Shiancoe's catch] was a touchdown by [NFL head of officials] Carl Johnson and that he was disappointed to see that reversed."
Johnson told Childress that Shiancoe did control the ball throughout.
Childress also admitted he regrets not being more aggressive at the end of the first half when the Vikings had the ball and took only one deep shot down the field before the half.