Delhomme hopes to avoid surgery

Jake Delhomme said he's still hoping to avoid surgery on his strained right elbow. Delhomme isn't feeling any pain, but added that's probably because he hasn't attempted to throw a football since straining his elbow against the Falcons. He's waiting for the go-ahead from trainer Ryan Vermillion to begin throwing and even expressed some outside optimism he might get that chance later this week.

"Usually when somebody has an injury or a strain or something, it kind of hurts," Delhomme said. "I feel pretty good. Now, I'm not in the act of throwing the ball. And I'm not talking about soft tossing with somebody. You've got to throw in this game, and you throw from all different angles. I'm anxious to start chucking it around a little bit."

In all likelihood, David Carr will get the start again.

But the Panthers haven't brought in any free-agent quarterbacks at this point -- which is a good sign -- and Delhomme still hasn't ruled out playing this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

"I hope so," Delhomme said of playing in the Superdome, one of his favorite venues. "See those tapes (of the Saints) sitting in my locker? They're going to be looked at. We'll see."

Of course if the rehab doesn't go well, then surgery remains an option -- either later this season or in the offseason.

But Delhomme called it a "last resort."

If he opts for surgery, it would definitely mean the end of his season, he said.

That would be a tough one for the Panthers to swallow. Delhomme is off to one of the best starts of his career. He owns the league's third-best quarterback rating and is 2-1 as the team's starter.

"I've had a bunch of phone calls saying something about a surgery," Delhomme said. "Maybe that could happen down the line. I don't know, and that's the God's honest truth. We don't know yet. To say it's a possibility, yes it's possible. But it's not in my mind right now. That's where we're at."

Delhomme refused to discuss what elbow surgery would entail.

He also refused to speculate on when, if at all, he would give up on rehab and opt for surgery.

"We're going to give it time. We haven't set a concrete date yet," he said. "Certainly, I know we have an open date coming up. For myself, I want to know soon.

"I know my body pretty well and I have a good idea, but we'll see. I have to trust Ryan and them. They've been very up front with me. We're doing everything we can and it feels pretty good. We'll see."

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