Conventional medical wisdom says you can play football nine months after an ACL repair, if your recovery goes well, but your knee won’t really feel as good as it once did until 12 months have passed.
Ronald Darby is the Eagles’ No. 1 corner, taking on the toughest coverage assignments. He tore his ACL on Nov. 11. He’s healthy enough to play but is still a couple months from that 12-month threshold. The opener against Washington wasn’t great -- everybody has seen Redskins tight end Vernon Davis hurdle Darby en route to a 48-yard touchdown -- and Sunday night’s loss at Atlanta was much worse.
Pro Football Focus said Darby was targeted 12 times, giving up seven receptions for 115 yards.
Wednesday, when a reporter launched into an “isn’t it frustrating to be out there, given the 12-month timetable” bit, Darby broke in.
“I understand that, but it ain’t no excuse,” Darby said. “I’m out there, so I gotta make plays. They’re counting on me, so I’m going to go out there and continue to play.”
Darby didn’t play in the preseason and didn’t practice until a few weeks before the season began. Then, he practiced in a brace that he is not wearing in games.
“It ain’t nothin', just me," Darby said. "Ain’t no excuse. Just gotta come ready to play.”
Starting linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill was listed as a partial practice participant on Wednesday, the first time he has been able to work with the team since suffering a grade-3 MCL sprain in an Aug 3 practice.
Grugier-Hill said he can’t play this week vs. Detroit, but he expects to be cleared for the game next Thursday at Green Bay.
One of the problems the Eagles’ running game experienced in Atlanta was that rookie running back Miles Sanders kept bouncing runs outside, instead of following his blocking, or instead of trying to carve out yards where the blocking was supposed to have been.
“I think I played hard,” said Sanders, who gained 28 yards on 10 carries. “I don’t want people to question my effort or toughness. I feel, watching film, say, there’s one or two plays where I feel like I can definitely stick my foot in the ground and get more north. That just comes with having more experience.”
Sanders said running-backs coach Duce Staley told him LeSean McCoy struggled with the same issue as a young runner. Sanders said that this week he will focus on “having more sharp decisions, you know, not out there hesitating, just trusting my eyes.”
In a conference call with reporters who cover the Eagles, Lions coach Matt Patricia said trying to plan around the Eagles’ uncertain injury situation is a pretty common obstacle.
“Week-to-week, you have guys who are either potentially active or not active,” Patricia said. “I think everyone gets used to understanding that they have to be ready to go with their best guess and evaluation of everybody being ready to go and [being] healthy.”