PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t win without Terrell Owens. Now they won’t have Donovan McNabb.

The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback will miss Philadelphia’s game against the New York Giants on Sunday with a groin injury.

Mike McMahon, who had been the third-string quarterback, will get the start over backup Koy Detmer.

McNabb’s status beyond this week is uncertain. He’ll see a specialist Thursday. McNabb has played through several injuries this season, including a sports hernia that will require surgery.

He originally planned to have the surgery after the season, but it’s possible he’ll have it sooner.

“It’s pretty much a matter of when I will have it. It’ll be the first surgery I have, so I’m not excited about going under the knife,” McNabb said Wednesday. “There are some questions that have been answered and I am going to other people to hear their opinion and I will make a decision afterward.

“Us being 4-5 or 1-8 or 7-2, it doesn’t matter. Being the quarterback of this team and the leader of this team, I want to be out there at all times. I have full confidence that we can turn this around.”

The reigning conference champion Eagles (4-5) have lost three consecutive games and are last in the NFC East. They’ve lost both games since suspending Owens on Nov. 5. The All-Pro wideout was told not to return to the team last week following a series of incidents, including repeated criticism of McNabb and insulting the organization.

McNabb put himself on the spot by saying the team was “better off” without Owens, its top playmaker. But he failed to back up his statement, throwing a crucial interception that led to a 21-20 loss to Dallas on Monday night.

McNabb reinjured his groin while trying to tackle Cowboys safety Roy Williams after he misread the coverage and threw the pick. Williams returned it 46 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:43 left.

McMahon nearly led Philadelphia to the winning score after coming in for the last series. He drove the Eagles to the Dallas 42 before David Akers missed a 60-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds.

“It’s a little more pressure. It’s the real thing,” McMahon said. “You have to be ready. It’s the situation I’ve been waiting for. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. I haven’t started in a while, but it’s not about starting. It’s about going out and being productive with the offense.”

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.

Detmer has been McNabb’s backup the last six seasons. He was the No. 2 quarterback this year only because he holds the ball on extra points and field goals.

“Nothing against Koy. I feel I have two good quarterbacks I can trust,” coach Andy Reid said. “Mike gives you more mobility. He knows the offense. He’s efficient in the offense.”

Tight end L.J. Smith played with McMahon at Rutgers. He said it won’t be much of a “drop off” catching passes from him.

“I know him. He knows my routes,” Smith said. “He’s mobile like Don. He has a strong arm like Don. He’s not afraid to make the long throws and he’s tough, too.”

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 Owens.

McNabb feuded with Owens throughout the summer, 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.

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.

“The actual hernia didn’t get worse. That is there and this is part of the groin area,” McNabb said. “Now that we have a problem with the groin, it has moved to that whole area.”

AP-ES-11-16-05 1554EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.