McNabb says ankle isn't 100 percent, but he'll be starting Sunday for Redskins vs Cowboys

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Donovan McNabb said Tuesday his sprained ankle isn't 100 percent, but it won't keep him from starting the Washington Redskins' opener Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

"Yes, I will be starting this weekend," McNabb told ESPN980. "And I look forward to it."

McNabb sprained his left ankle 2½ weeks ago in a preseason game against Baltimore. McNabb said the injury isn't classified as a high ankle sprain — the more severe type that has more significant ligament damage and a longer recovery time — but he said it's "very close to it." He said he's getting multiple treatments each day.

"Is it 100 percent? No. ... But it's getting better," he said.

McNabb returned to practice Monday, but lost valuable time working with a new offense as he prepares for his Redskins debut after 11 years with the Philadelphia Eagles.

McNabb also talked about the ongoing saga surrounding defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, whose relationship with coach Mike Shanahan has been strained for several months over various issues. It's uncertain what Haynesworth's role will be — or whether Haynesworth will still be with the team, given the possibility of a trade — by the time kickoff arrives Sunday.

"Albert is a guy that's one of our brothers in the locker room, and we want to protect him and make sure that he's taken care of and he's fine," McNabb said. "Albert is a guy who understands now, he understands that, 'Hey, I've got to put the time and effort in to get an opportunity to show what I can do.' And he knows what he can do.

"We can't win without Albert. He plays a major part on our defense, and everyone knows that. It's just unfortunate what's been going on and how everything has transpired, but that's the game of football, and I think he'll handle it the right way. ... I think he'll be here. I hope he'll be here. ... As a player, you would want Albert to be here."