Brett Favre's healing ability has been tested before. It's headed for another down-to-the-wire finish.
The latest will-he-or-won't-he drama in Favre's 20-year career continued Friday when Minnesota listed him as questionable for Sunday's game at New England. The Vikings will wait until the very end to answer the burning question whether their injured 41-year-old quarterback will play.
Favre was on the field for drills Friday, with limited participation in practice for the first time this week. He wore a wrap on his left ankle, which has two fractures that have threatened his NFL-record streak of 291 straight games started.
Coach Brad Childress said he "probably will" wait until the last hours before kickoff to decide. He didn't directly answer a question if he'll base the decision on Favre's recent rough performances or strictly on his health. Earlier this week, Childress said he won't consider the streak when he decides.
"Can he protect himself? And what gives us the best chance to win?" Childress said in response to a question about whether he wants Favre to start.
If he doesn't, Tarvaris Jackson will take over.
"I'm not losing any sleep over it. It will all sort itself out," Childress said.
Favre has both a stress fracture and an avulsion fracture in the foot, which was hurt in last Sunday's loss at Green Bay. The avulsion fracture in the heel bone is where a fragment has been torn away by a tendon or ligament.
He threw a few easy passes Friday in warmups, but he didn't roll out or take any deep dropbacks while reporters were allowed to watch.
Childress said Favre took the field before the rest of the team Friday "so he could move around a little bit," and the coach said Favre's progress was "encouraging." Childress said he'll continue to be evaluated throughout the weekend.
Favre walked in and out of the locker room briefly Friday without speaking to reporters, but Thursday he said he "wouldn't put anything past me" in regard to being ready to play.
Childress was a little tense while he fielded questions about Favre's status Friday afternoon, keeping his answers short and snappy:
How would you assess his mobility?
"I'm not giving any scouting reports. Better than an iron deer on the lawn."
Was he wearing an orthotic in his shoe?
"I'm not a podiatrist. I couldn't comment on that."
Will you have another conversation this weekend with him about how he's feeling?
"I'll speak with him, yeah, plenty. It's not like going to a confessional once a week, that I have to go to church to speak to him. He's in and around the building all the time. So the dialogue is generally ongoing. I know people view that as being called to the principal's office, when you sit in my office, but we had a pretty good conversation sitting right out here today for a long time."
What do you expect to see from him on Saturday?
"That he wakes up in the morning. Nothing's given, right? That he can get in here, and we'll see where he's at. That's my expectation. I don't have an expectation because I don't know. Everybody would like to know. I don't know."
As for Jackson, well, he said he's simply preparing like he's the starter. That's always the basic word from the backup in the NFL.
"You never really know. I don't know Brett's situation, how he feels personally, but if my number's called and if I'm the guy, I'm going to be ready to play," said Jackson, whose last start came in January 2009 in a playoff loss to Philadelphia.
Jackson claimed he couldn't tell much about Favre's condition from how he moved in practice, and wide receiver Percy Harvin pleaded the fifth, too, about whether Favre looked like be ready to go in 48 hours.
"You'd have to ask him that. ... But we're confident in whatever quarterback takes the snaps," Harvin said.
More Favre Coverage
Brett Favre Hopes Ankle Heals for Patriots Game
Packers Poach Favre's Passes, Beat the Vikings
Favre Quiet, Deadspin Not, on NFL Sexting Probe
© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.