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Hasselbeck cleared to return

RENTON, Wash. — Matt Hasselbeck is back at the helm of the Seattle Seahawks.

Hasselbeck suffered a concussion that forced him to miss the Seahawks' game against the New York Giants last week. But now he's been cleared to lead Seattle against Arizona in a key NFC West showdown Sunday.

"I'm very excited to be back," Hasselbeck said. "Last week was tough for me. The obstacles to get back on the football field from a concussion are much bigger now. I wasn't about to make it back last week, but I'm back."

Hasselbeck was brutalized in the Seahawks' 33-3 loss to the Oakland Raiders two weeks ago. He was sacked eight times and hit another seven as a porous offensive line was unable to keep Hasselbeck on his feet.

He left the game late in the fourth quarter and was replaced by backup Charlie Whitehurst, who got the first start of his five-year NFL career against New York.

The Seahawks offense couldn't get anything going against the Giants. Their first three drives resulted in three-and-outs.

Whitehurst finished the game 12 of 23 for 113 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions and a 44.3 passer rating. The stagnant Seahawks offense put up just 162 yards of offense as Seattle was pounded 41-7.


Minnesota's Percy Harvin missed practice for a second straight day Thursday because of a migraine headache.

Coach Brad Childress said the wide receiver and kickoff returner was visiting a doctor again after his absence on Wednesday.

Harvin is also dealing with a sprained left ankle he suffered in the Oct. 31 game at New England and played through last Sunday against Arizona.

After being held out of Wednesday's practice, quarterback Brett Favre was participating on a limited basis on Thursday. Favre said taking last Wednesday off might have helped rejuvenate his body a little as he fights ankle, foot and calf problems.


Randy Moss has played with Tom Brady and Brett Favre this season. Now it's Vince Young's turn. So nothing like a little pressure eh, Vince?

"No, not at all," Young said Thursday. "Like I always say, I eventually want to be up in the top ranks with these guys. That's why I continue to keep working, taking notes from him and the things that he sees and hears out there as well as the rest of the receiving corps. It's all about team."

Young got his first chance to practice with Moss on Thursday after being sidelined the past two days with a sprained left ankle. But the fifth-year quarterback was limited and split the work with backup Kerry Collins.

Whether Young starts Sunday at Miami (4-4) depends on how his ankle responds to his first work since he was injured in a 33-25 loss to San Diego on Oct. 31.

Young said he feels better, especially after resting during the bye week. But he wants to see how his ankle reacts and likely will be a gametime decision.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he expects Young to be able to take the bulk of the practice snaps today.


Eli Manning may have to face the Dallas Cowboys without his security blanket.

Wide receiver Steve Smith, Manning's go-to guy on third down, was forced to leave practice on Thursday after hurting a pectoral muscle.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin was unsure about either the extent of the injury or whether it would keep him out of Sunday's game against the Cowboys (1-7).

"He had trouble driving his arm after the injury, so he couldn't continue," Coughlin said. "I don't have anything to tell you about him until they do all of the tests."

Smith was not available in the locker room after practice. Manning also had not talked to Smith and was uncertain about his availability for the weekend.

Smith, who set a franchise single-season record with 107 catches last year, has made 47 for 517 yards and three touchdowns this season. He is second on the team behind Hakeem Nicks, who has 51, 653 and nine.

If Smith doesn't play, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said that the Giants would rotate players into Smith's spot.


The Arizona Cardinals rested Beanie Wells on Thursday, raising questions about whether the running back will be able to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Starting outside linebacker Clark Haggans, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury, went through a limited workout and could be back on Sunday.

Inside linebacker Paris Lenon did not practice because of an injured ankle.

Wells had been limited in practice for two weeks after what the Cardinals say was an allergic reaction to the injection of a commonly used medication to lubricate his right knee. Wells missed the first two games of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on the knee.

Wells had one carry for minus two yards in last Sunday's 27-24 overtime loss at Minnesota.


Cleveland Browns linebacker Marcus Benard has been released from a hospital after collapsing in the locker room on Thursday.

Benard was sitting in a chair in front of his cubicle when he suddenly fell to the carpeted floor. Some of his teammates, who were getting dressed for practice, thought he may have been joking before linebacker Matt Roth yelled for a trainer.

Benard had his hands near his face, but he did not appear to lose consciousness and his eyes were open as three members of Cleveland's training staff checked on him. He was taken to Southwest General Hospital by ambulance for tests and released at 8:15 p.m.

In a statement, the Browns said he will undergo further evaluation today.

The 25-year-old Benard leads the Browns with 41/2; sacks.