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NFL NOTEBOOK : Favre still hopes to play Sunday

Brett Favre sure doesn't look like a guy ready to play a game in four days, not with an oversized walking boot covering most of his left leg.

Why bet against Minnesota's 41-year-old quarterback- Whether it's reckless pride, determination or an exceptional tolerance of pain, he has played through all kinds of pain -- including a broken thumb in 2003 and a badly sprained foot in 2000 -- and never sat out.

His NFL-record streak is at 291 consecutive games started, 315 including the playoffs. Naturally, Favre is not ruling himself out of Sunday's game at New England despite two fractures in his left ankle.

''I would love to play, for no other reason but I'm in this, committed to this team,'' Favre said. ''I'd love to get this back on track and be a part of it, and more than anything function at a level that gives us a chance to win. That's basically it.''

Favre said he won't consider participating in any part of practice until Friday. He spent Wednesday in the training room, joining his teammates for their post-practice huddle and walking off the field wearing the boot, shorts and sweatshirt.Niners go with Troy

With quarterback Alex Smith ruled out because of a separated shoulder, San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary is gambling on Troy Smith being able to turn his struggling team around.

Singletary said the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State will get his first NFL start in three years after Alex Smith was ruled out for two to three weeks with a separated left shoulder. The Niners play the Denver Broncos at London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Singletary picked Smith ahead of David Carr, who came on against Carolina after Alex Smith was injured on Sunday but threw a costly late interception that led to the winning field goal for the Panthers.Hall 'good to roll'

Three days after what he said was the first concussion of his career, Max Hall practiced and said he was anxious to prove he is a far better quarterback than he showed on a dismal, wet afternoon in Seattle.

Hall said he's ''good to roll'' for Sunday's home game against Tampa Bay, but coach Ken Whisenhunt was more cautious, saying he would have to see how the rookie does through the week before being more definitive. Packers LB out for year

Packers linebacker Brad Jones is out for the season following a right shoulder injury that will need surgery.

Jones, a seventh-round draft pick, reinjured the same shoulder that has bothered him since training camp when he made the tackle of Favre that left Favre limping.Notes

Buffalo Bills starting left tackle Demetrius Bell (knee) missed practice, leaving his status uncertain for the winless team's game at Kansas City on Sunday.

?Vince Young's left knee and ankle were feeling good enough that the Tennessee quarterback returned to practice for the first time since spraining his leg on Oct. 18.

?While Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller split reps in practice with Oakland's first-team defense, the Raiders were mum on who would start at quarterback.

?The Bengals expect cornerback Adam ''Pacman'' Jones to come back next season after he had surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. Jones is under contract with the Bengals for one more year.

Sun-Times wires