DeSean Jackson will have surgery to correct a core muscle injury Tuesday morning, a source close to the Eagles wide receiver said Monday.
The team later released a statement confirming the surgery.
A timetable for Jackson’s return has not been set, but even if he were to be available this season, it might not be until the playoffs, if the Eagles were to advance that far. Recovery from core muscle surgeries can take up to or longer than two months, depending upon the patient.
“I put all my passion into this ... I don’t care if anyone ever doubt that!!” Jackson wrote on Instagram. “Know I’ll come [back] stronger than ever!! If you mad that’s understandable I’m more Angry than anybody but it’s GODS plan not mine!! Trust the process.”
William Meyers will perform the surgery in Philadelphia.
Jackson suffered what the Eagles initially labeled a groin injury early in their Week 2 loss to the Falcons. The team later termed it an abdominal injury. Jackson missed the next six games as he recovered. He practiced last week for the first time since the injury, but only on a limited basis.
“Following the game in Atlanta, DeSean met with the Eagles and multiple independent specialists to determine the best course of action,” the Eagles said in their statement. “After gathering all the necessary information, the decision was made to proceed non-operatively through rehabilitation. DeSean worked hard for six weeks to progress to a point where all parties were comfortable with him returning to practice.”
The Eagles listed him as questionable on the injury report and he dressed for Sunday’s game against the Bears. But Jackson, who caught one pass for 5 yards, lasted only four snaps. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that his receiver had felt discomfort and that he was held out for “precautionary” reasons.
The Eagles reiterated Pederson’s comments in their statement.
“After further testing and discussion this morning, it was determined that the best course of action for a full recovery is to proceed with surgery,” the Eagles said.
Jackson, when he last spoke Friday, declined to answer whether surgery was initially recommended at the time of the injury. He also declined to explain how the injury occurred. The 32-year-old receiver, whom the Eagles traded for in March and signed to a two-year contract extension, has missed 21 games in his last six seasons.
That number now will increase exponentially.
“Sitting here today, you kind of go, ‘All right, maybe you should have,’” Pederson said about not playing Jackson on Sunday. "You’re second-guessing now. ... we’re in a business where we have to play and we have to play with the guys who are in uniform.
“Again, he busted his tail to put himself in a position to help us yesterday, and again he just felt that discomfort, so we kept him out and that’s where we are.”
Jackson, who had played his first six seasons in the NFL with the Eagles, had an electric return to the team in Week 1. He caught eight passes for 158 yards and two 50-plus-yard touchdowns in a 32-27 win over the Redskins. The Eagles have long lacked a true deep threat and Jackson was to be the balm.
But it was short-lived. Jackson was hurt on the first drive of the Falcons game, and after a brief return he left for good. The Eagles haven’t come close to replicating his production on deep passes since his absence. In fact, they have lacked consistency from their receivers in nearly every facet.
Nelson Agholor has caught only 3 of 17 targets on passes thrown over 20 yards. He dropped what could have been the game-winning score late in the Falcons game. Alshon Jeffery has struggled to get separation on downfield routes and dropped three passes Sunday. And reserve receivers Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside are among the most ineffective receivers in the NFL based upon receiving yards per route run.
The Eagles might have to place Jackson on season-ending injured reserve to create a roster spot for another receiver. They won’t be able to trade for one after last week’s deadline. They could try to pick up a free agent. There are some notable names available, but a receiver like Antonio Brown brings potential discord, and a receiver like Jordan Matthews, who has two previous stints with the Eagles, doesn’t offer much in terms of downfield potential.