NFL: Delhomme might play

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme has always hated gloves, refusing to wear them no matter the weather.

He relented on Wednesday.

Delhomme, with a shiny new glove protecting his sprained right thumb, practiced for the first time in more than three weeks and could play in the Panthers’ regular-season finale against New Orleans.

“I’ve never believed in wearing one. I’ve never worn one,” Delhomme said of wearing a glove on his throwing hand. “But for gripping reasons I needed to try it. I had to, and it helped a good bit. We’ll see — you never know, I may become a believer.”

Delhomme had been sidelined, unable to grip a ball, since suffering ligament damage when his thumb hit a Philadelphia player’s helmet on Dec. 4. But Delhomme was able to throw Wednesday and worked with the first team. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, a must-win for the Panthers to keep their slim playoffs hopes alive.

“What I tried today, I was happy with what I did,” Delhomme said. “It’s still day-to-day. I haven’t done that much work with it. Who knows how I’m going to feel tomorrow.”

Delhomme’s return gave a boost to the Panthers (7-8), who after last Sunday’s win over Atlanta, remain alive for the final playoff spot in the NFC.