Ankle is latest sore point for Eagles RB Westbrook
YESTERDAY'S alarming Brian Westbrook news came from a completely different direction. Nothing new on the concussion, Westbrook hasn't had a headache since Friday, Eagles coach Andy Reid said. Asked if Westbrook would take the field when practice resumes tomorrow, Reid said he expected so, having just spoken with Westbrook. Then he qualified that.
YESTERDAY'S alarming Brian Westbrook news came from a completely different direction.
Nothing new on the concussion, Westbrook hasn't had a headache since Friday, Eagles coach Andy Reid said. Asked if Westbrook would take the field when practice resumes tomorrow, Reid said he expected so, having just spoken with Westbrook. Then he qualified that.
"I don't think Brian's head is a [problem]. Brian had some work done on his ankle, so if he doesn't go on Wednesday that would be the cause unless something crazy [happens] with his concussion," Reid said.
Further questioning revealed the "work" to be treatment for swelling, in the right ankle Westbrook sprained Week 2, following surgery back in June.
Like so much of what has happened with Westbrook, this wrinkle, in and of itself, might be no big deal. A little ankle swelling. But when you pull back and examine the larger picture, it looks like this: The season is halfway over. Westbrook, the franchise back who has carried the ball more than 200 times every year since 2005, has 41 carries for 197 yards, and 17 catches for 130 yards.
After missing the preseason recovering from the surgery, he started out rusty. Westbrook, 30, had one full game where he resembled the player he has always been - the Oct. 18 loss at Oakland - before he slammed his head into London Fletcher's knee the next week at Washington, suffered the concussion, and hasn't played since.
Will his head start hurting again if he practices tomorrow? Will his ankle swell up? Two noncontact practices last week, and Westbrook needed ankle treatment? This doesn't seem to be headed in a good direction.
It now seems that Westbrook's absence from Friday's practice had to do with the ankle swelling, even though Reid said at the time he wanted to get rookie LeSean McCoy some reps. Reid insisted Westbrook's headache - which Reid did not mention in his postpractice news conference Friday - did not come up until Friday afternoon.
"Backing off of him, that's what I've been doing on Fridays," Reid said yesterday. "He had 2 hard days of practice, so I was pulling off of him on that and then the other things [the headache] came."
Without Westbrook, the Eagles' offensive weapons are really young, and prone to inconsistency.
Starting weakside linebacker Akeem Jordan, the only starter remaining from the group that began training camp, suffered a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise against the Cowboys, Andy Reid said. Reid didn't offer a prognosis, but it would seem unlikely that Jordan would be able to play this Sunday at San Diego. It isn't clear who would step in - Tracy White? Joe Mays? Moise Fokou, with strongside starter Chris Gocong expected to return to practice tomorrow (and then to play)? Suddenly, you have to wonder about that roster spot Jeremiah Trotter is occupying.
In case you're keeping score at home, original middle linebacker Stewart Bradley went down to an ACL tear Aug. 2. Trotter returned to the NFL during the bye week, not having played since 2007. Bradley's replacement, Omar Gaither, was lost for the season to a Lisfranc sprain Oct. 18, leading to the acquisition of Will Witherspoon from St. Louis. Fokou, a seventh-round rookie from Maryland, got his first career start Sunday for Gocong, who was suffering from quad and hamstring troubles.
The Eagles scored a really nice touchdown against the Giants because Donovan McNabb had no qualms putting a ball into a tight spot to Jeremy Maclin, trusting the rookie to make a play against double coverage. McNabb did something very similar Sunday, with disastrous results - Dallas corner Mike Jenkins tracked the ball, leaped and caught it, while Maclin watched, flatfooted. McNabb noted that he put a little too much air under the ball, which was not the case on his other interception - the ball volleyballed high into the air off Maclin's hands.
Overall, the Eagles targeted Maclin with passes nine times Sunday, as the Cowboys concentrated on DeSean Jackson. Maclin caught three, for 44 yards. It will be interesting to see if McNabb retains the same level of trust in the 21-year-old rookie.
Cornerback/kick returner Ellis Hobbs saw a spine surgeon in the wake of suffering a neck injury Sunday, Andy Reid said, "and the MRI has not changed from what he had there before. We have to do further evaluations on that and see how he comes out of this." That doesn't sound great . . . Fullback Leonard Weaver and left tackle Jason Peters suffered ankle sprains; Weaver said he should be fine for San Diego. Peters got his taped up and returned to the game, battling hard against DeMarcus Ware . . . Defensive end Victor Abiamiri (knee) is ready to return to practice, Reid said, and wide receiver Kevin Curtis is returning from Utah, where he had knee surgery.
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