Favre considers ankle surgery - again

Quarterback has been bothered by sore wheel since 1995

What happens -- good, bad or a mix of both -- in the remaining four games of the regular season probably will have more bearing on quarterback Brett Favre's decision about playing next season than how he makes it through an impending operation.

Favre said Wednesday that he's headed toward having arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle after the season ends.

"I have to kind of convince myself to do it," he said. "It's one of those things that I'll say I'll do it, and then when the time comes, I'm, 'Ah, I can wait.' But, we'll see."

The ankle has dogged Favre not only for much of this season but since he severely sprained it in a game at Minnesota in 1995. Surgery was done on the ankle after that season to clean out bone spurs, which have resurfaced this season.

Favre, who has started 253 straight games, said if he goes through with the surgery, it won't influence his future plans.

Putting up with another dismal season is a different story. The Packers have lost a season-high three straight games and have been all but eliminated from postseason contention with the 4-8 record they take into the game Sunday at San Francisco.

The last two seasons have been the toughest for Favre because he was accustomed to successful results his first 13 seasons with the team. It took him nearly four months after the Packers reached oblivion with a 4-12 record last year to commit to playing this season.

"That was fun last (off-season), wasn't it? I had you guys (the media) just reeled right on in. I knew what I was going to do the whole time," Favre said.

As for how long he'll keep everyone hanging for "Favre Watch 2007," he hinted that the wait won't be nearly as tiresome.

"I don't think that it will take as much time," Favre said. "But, I don't know. I have no clue.

"Whether or not I'm here next year depends on whether or not they want me and whether or not I want to give to this team what I've given in the past and given this year," he added. "I'm pleased with my decision to come back. There may be some people who are not, but I'm pleased with it, and I would love for us to be in a better situation. But, it is what it is and try to make the most of these next four weeks. And, from that point, we'll see."

Favre isn't letting on that he's been affected of late by the bum ankle or the bruised right elbow that knocked him out of the Nov. 19 loss to New England and caused him to lose feeling in his throwing hand. He's in the midst of his worst three-game stretch as a pro from an efficiency standpoint -- his passer rating has been in the 50s in each of them.

Favre was on a steady pace early in the season to strip Dan Marino of his hallowed league record for touchdown passes. He's had only two touchdown throws in the last three games and will need 10 in the final four games to eclipse Marino's career total of 420.

The potential injury implications notwithstanding, the passing game has been out of whack of late for a variety of on-field reasons. The rushing attack has been inconsistent with right tackle Mark Tauscher sidelined. The defense spotted New England (21-0) and the Jets (31-0) enormous halftime leads in two of the last three games, thus putting the ball in Favre's hand more.

Green Bay's run-first mentality has given way to a league-high 38.8 pass attempts per game. That's not the recipe for Favre and the offense to flourish, particularly when his only reliable receiver now is Donald Driver. Would-be rookie sensation Greg Jennings has fallen off the radar since he suffered a sprained ankle Oct. 22 at Miami -- he has all of 18 catches for 211 yards and no touchdowns in his last six games after making a big splash with 20 receptions, two 100-yard games and three touchdowns in his first five outings.

"He hasn't had the comfort that he had particularly earlier in the year as far as coming out of breaks and things," head coach Mike McCarthy said of Jennings.

Favre's trust in a gimpy Jennings seemingly has waned to the point he has blinders on in looking only one way, to Driver. Opposing defenses have caught on and are rolling two, even three defenders on Driver, who has a total of eight catches in the last three games.

"I'll say when it breaks down, (Favre) probably looks to (Driver)," McCarthy conceded. "They have a connection just like any other great tandem of quarterback-receivers that I've been around. He's had a lot of success with Donald, but we don't call plays where he's supposed to throw it (to another guy) and he throws it to Donald. That's not going on."


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