WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published October 06, 2009, 06:39 PM

Farve: Arm Feels Great

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The big 4-0 is right around the corner for Brett Favre. You'd never know it.

By: John Krawczynski, AP

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The big 4-0 is right around the corner for Brett Favre. You'd never know it.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback played his last game of his 30s Monday night against the Green Bay Packers and showed everyone that his surgically repaired right arm has new life.

"My arm feels great," said Favre, who threw for 271 yards and three TDs to beat his old team. "It didn't feel very good last year. I'm not going to make excuses.

"But my arm feels a lot better and I think it's showing."

That's for sure. After his first four games in purple, Favre has completed 68 percent of his passes for 837 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception to lead the Vikings to a 4-0 start.

It's a far cry from how he ended his only season in New York. Favre suffered a partially torn biceps in his throwing arm last season. He threw nine interceptions and only two touchdowns as the Jets lost four of five down the stretch and missed the playoffs.

Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on his biceps in May, cutting the partially torn tendon to alleviate the pain that caused Favre, whose birthday is Saturday, to (temporarily) retire for a second consecutive season last spring.

It's a procedure that's growing in popularity and allowing older athletes to extend their careers, according to Dr. Anthony Romeo, section head of shoulder and elbow surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"Not only do they do well," Romeo said, "but they get better faster."

That certainly seems to be the case with Favre, who had two options this summer. First, he could have had Andrews repair the torn tendon, which calls for a much longer recovery time.

"If they did that for Brett Favre, he would not be playing this year," Romeo said.

Instead, Andrews cut the tendon to relieve the pain. The recovery time is much shorter with that option, which paved the way for Favre to go through about six weeks of rehabilitation and join the Vikings in mid-August.

"That's a pretty significant, painful injury," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "He couldn't have come here if he wouldn't have had the surgery. He knows that."

The biceps tendon may look impressive on a body builder, but Romeo said it doesn't factor much into the throwing of a football. "That tendon is relatively unimportant," he said. "The key to his result is, he got rid of his pain."

Broncos quarterback John Elway went through a similar injury and was able to play two more years after his biceps ruptured, winning two Super Bowls. Without the pain, Favre is enjoying a career renaissance in Minnesota few athletes his age even dream about.

That was never more evident than on Monday night, with millions of eyes on the first game between Favre and his once-beloved Green Bay, where he spent 16 seasons. He completed 20 of 24 throws for 242 yards and three touchdowns in the first three quarters to get out to a big lead, and the Vikings held on for an important division win.

It wasn't just the numbers for Favre, it was the way he racked them up.

During the first two games of the season against overmatched opponents in Cleveland and Detroit, the Vikings played it conservative with short passes and handoffs to Adrian Peterson.

Signs of the young Favre first resurfaced in the closing moments against the 49ers two weeks ago, when he drove the Vikings 80 yards in 1:29 without a timeout, culminating in a 32-yard TD pass to Greg Lewis for the game winner.

He was even better against the Packers, tormenting the team that decided to move on with the younger Aaron Rodgers after Favre reneged on his first retirement announcement in 2008.

Utilizing the best pass protection he's had all season, Favre went down the field early and often. Five of his 24 completions gained 24 yards or more.

There was pump faking, throwing across his body, rolling right and throwing left, zipping the ball into tight coverage and throwing it over the top of the defense.

"He's still got it," receiver Sidney Rice said. "I don't care how old he is."

To Dr. Ty Endean, a solo practitioner who performs the surgery at Sports Institute of Tucson, Ariz., Favre's performance at his age is even more impressive than his recovery from the operation. "Guys come back from much bigger surgeries," he said.

Favre said the most telling sign that his arm is fully back came on an incompletion. Favre used that familiar windup and put everything he had on a pass to Bernard Berrian with two Packers defensive backs converging on the play. The ball squeezed through the smallest of windows and hit Berrian right in the hands.

"That is a throw I wouldn't have even come close to completing last year," he said.

Romeo and Childress think the best is yet to come. Favre reported to the Vikings less than a month before the season opener, so he is still working his arm, and the rest of his body, back into playing shape.

"Brett Favre's probably going to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on," Romeo said. "The chances for this deteriorating are far less."

___

AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins in Green Bay, Wis., contributed to this story.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Tags: