PHILADELPHIA — Now Donovan McNabb is gone from the Philadelphia Eagles, too.

The Eagles’ star quarterback will have surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to miss the rest of the season, another crushing blow for a team that had hoped to return to the Super Bowl.

All-Pro cornerback Lito Sheppard also appears out for the season with a sprained ankle that will require surgery.

Monday’s announcements came one day after the reigning NFC champions fell to 4-6 with their fourth straight loss.

The struggling Eagles also are without star receiver Terrell Owens, who was suspended four games and told not to return to the team on Nov. 7.

McNabb didn’t play in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the New York Giants after he re-injured his groin while trying to tackle Cowboys safety Roy Williams following an interception last Monday night. Williams returned it 46 yards for a touchdown with 2:43 left to lead Dallas to a 21-20 comeback victory over the Eagles.

Sheppard was injured in the third quarter against the Giants when he got tangled up with wide receiver Plaxico Burress on an incomplete pass. He was taken off the field in a cart and the Eagles originally announced the ankle was broken. An All-Pro last year, Sheppard had 27 tackles, two interceptions and one sack this season.

McNabb had played through several injuries and hoped to delay surgery for the sports hernia until after the season. Last Thursday, Dr. William Meyers recommended that McNabb have surgery now. He got the same advice from another doctor over the weekend.

Mike McMahon started for McNabb against the Giants, and completed 18 of 39 passes for 298 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a score and helped the offense move the ball against a tough Giants defense that hadn’t allowed a TD for 13 quarters.

Sports hernias are most common among male athletes. A diagnosis sometimes can be tricky because, unlike more common hernias, there is not always a visible bulge in the leg or groin area. And with about 18 different variations, sports hernias can range from torn muscles to frayed muscles to a weakness in the abdominal wall.

Sometimes, the symptoms masquerade as a hip joint problem, a groin pull, a strained abdominal muscle or bursitis in the hip.

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