BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) _ Donovan McNabb was cleared to practice when the Philadelphia Eagles take the field for the first time Saturday.
The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback hasn't played in a game since he tore a ligament in his right knee on Nov. 19. He participated in the team's final minicamp last month, but it wasn't a certainty he would start training camp on time.
``He feels good and he'll be ready to roll,'' coach Andy Reid said Friday. ``We'll keep a close eye on him and just see how he does. He'll probably start out with a brace for precautionary measures. It's his right leg, his plant leg, so we'll see how he does the first three days. I'm going to take it slow with him.''
McNabb didn't wear the brace in June, and Reid said he might not use it once the regular season starts.
``It's more of a security blanket for him,'' Reid said. ``It gives him more stability.''
Even without any setbacks, McNabb still might sit out the first preseason game at Baltimore on Aug. 13.
``I'm not in any hurry to push him into the first preseason game,'' Reid said. ``I just want to make sure that he's very sure of his leg and he feels comfortable mentally and physically. From what I've see, he's well on his way.''
McNabb was having one of his best seasons before he was injured against the Tennessee Titans. He had 2,647 yards passing and 18 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 95.5 in 10 games.
Jeff Garcia replaced McNabb and helped the Eagles capture the NFC East title with five straight wins down the stretch. Philadelphia advanced to the second round of the playoffs, before losing 27-24 at New Orleans.
Garcia signed with Tampa Bay in free agency, so A.J. Feeley enters the season as McNabb's backup. The Eagles also acquired veteran Kelly Holcomb in a trade and selected quarterback Kevin Kolb in the second round with their first pick in the NFL draft.
Durability has been a problem for the 30-year-old McNabb. He's finished the regular season on the sidelines three times in five years. A sports hernia forced McNabb to miss the final seven games in 2005 and he sat out the last six games with a broken ankle in 2002 before returning for the playoffs.
``I'm not coming into it thinking that Donovan is going to get hurt this season,'' Reid said. ``I'm looking at Donovan having a great season. He was on an MVP pace last year. I expect him to pick that up and go right through the season that way and stay healthy the whole season.''
McNabb will practice with rookies and selected veterans for three days. The rest of the team is due on Monday, and the first practice in full pads is Wednesday.