Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:15 PM EST
McNabb May Have Season-Ending Surgery
The Associated Press by ROB MAADDI

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Donovan McNabb was told Thursday to have surgery that probably would end his season.

The Eagles' quarterback is considering his options.

The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback will miss Philadelphia's game against the New York Giants on Sunday with a groin injury, but hasn't made a decision beyond that.

McNabb has played with a sports hernia most of the season. He re-injured his groin while trying to tackle Cowboys safety Roy Williams following an interception on Monday night. Williams returned it 46 yards for a touchdown with 2:43 left to lead Dallas to a 21-20 comeback victory over the Eagles.

Dr. William Meyers recommended that McNabb have surgery now to correct the sports hernia after an examination Thursday morning.

McNabb had planned to have surgery after the season, but he said Wednesday he wasn't sure if he'd do it sooner. Mike McMahon, who had been the third string quarterback, will start in McNabb's place.

"He's our leader. If he's out, it's a major hit," tight end L.J. Smith said. "It's definitely a blow to our offense."

McNabb clearly hasn't been the same quarterback who led the Eagles to the NFC championship game the last four years. He has thrown a costly interception in each of the last three games, and has nine picks this season.

He threw just eight interceptions last season when he became the first player in NFL history to throw more than 30 touchdown passes (31) and fewer than 10 interceptions.

Overall, McNabb has passed for 2,507 yards, 16 TDs and has a passer rating of 85.0 this season. His troubles started off the field with the turmoil between him and Terrell Owens.

McNabb feuded with Owens throughout the summer after he was criticized by the All-Pro wideout, and the two didn't speak for a prolonged period. They clicked on the field, however, with Owens catching 47 passes for 763 yards and six TDs in seven games.

Owens was suspended on Nov. 5 following a series of incidents, including repeated criticism of McNabb and lashing put at the organization. He was told not to return to the team last week.

McNabb hurt his chest in the season opener and has been bothered by the sports hernia since September.

Sports hernias are most common among male athletes. A diagnosis sometimes can be tricky because, unlike more common hernias, there is not always a visible bulge in the leg or groin area. And with about 18 different variations, sports hernias can range from torn muscles to frayed muscles to a weakness in the abdominal wall.

Sometimes, the symptoms masquerade as a hip joint problem, a groin pull, a strained abdominal muscle or bursitis in the hip.

In four seasons with Detroit, McMahon started seven games. He had a 43.8 completion percentage with 10 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions, but ran for 273 yards on 46 carries.

"Mike has a strong arm, he has good speed and he makes good decisions," running back Brian Westbrook said. "I'm confident in his ability to go out and make plays."

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