Favre starts for Vikings, leaves injured

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Brett Favre’s emotional and surprising return to the field ended early.

Favre shrugged off a sprained right shoulder to start the game on Monday night, receiving a thunderous ovation from the crowd when he was introduced before the game. But Minnesota’s 41-year-old quarterback sustained a head injury in the second quarter by Bears defensive end Corey Wootton, and the team said he would not return.

Favre’s helmet bounced against the ground, and he stayed motionless for a few seconds before slowly rising and walking off with his head hung down. Favre’s face was streaked with material from the artificial surface and he appeared dazed as he put on a jacket on the sideline.

He was 5 for 7 for 65 yards with a 23-yard TD to Percy Harvin and an interception in the game.

Favre wasn’t supposed to even suit up at all, after being declared out Saturday on the official injury report. But the Vikings upgraded him to questionable Monday after he woke up feeling better and wanting to give it a try.

The Vikings notified the NFL and the Bears of his status change, and league spokesman Greg Aiello said there is nothing in the rules that prevents a team from changing a player’s injury report designation.

“If a player’s medical status changes during the course of the week, the club must update his playing status accordingly prior to the game,” Aiello said. “That is what the Vikings did when Brett’s status changed today.”

He came out for warmups wearing a black ski mask, and after making some pregame throws with flakes falling around him, he was announced as the starter. Favre had his NFL-record starts streak end at 297 games last week against the Giants.

Speaking before the game, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We don’t allow people to play games with the injury list. They have to be legitimate medical injuries.”

Favre was blindsided by Bills linebacker Arthur Moats and drilled into the turf on his first pass of the game on Dec. 5. He watched practice again all week, with rookie Joe Webb declared the starter.

But Favre can’t be counted out, especially for the high-profile Monday night games. He’s had some of his greatest performances on the NFL’s biggest regular season stage, none more notable than when he threw for 399 yards and four TDs in a Monday night win at Oakland _ the day after his father died of a heart attack.

“Brett Favre attempted to throw the football two days ago and was unable to,” Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman said Monday in a statement issued by the team.

“He declared himself out at that time. He woke up this morning feeling much improved. His symptoms and function have improved dramatically over the past 24 hours.

“In fairness to him and his team, he would like to be given the opportunity to play tonight if physically able.”

The Vikings and Bears played at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium because the Metrodome’s roof collapsed last weekend after a heavy snowstorm. Without heating coils underneath the artificial surface, players openly worried about the condition of the field while the NFL and stadium officials declared it safe for competition.

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