For one scary moment in November, Ellis Hobbs couldn't feel his legs.
The Eagles cornerback had taken a hit against the Cowboys while returning a kickoff. Hobbs said he got "tagged."
"Instantly, right when I got hit, everything just went numb, went blank for a second," Hobbs, 27, said Monday. His legs briefly went numb when he was knocked to the turf at Lincoln Financial Field.
"For a brief second, I couldn't move," Hobbs said. "It was just, 'All right, get up. I know you can't feel it right now, but get up.' "
He stood up and made it to the sideline, where doctors quickly surmised that his symptoms matched those of a herniated disk.
"After the fact, you look at it [as being] more scary than when it did happen, because it happened so fast," Hobbs said.
The hit ended Hobbs' season and led to surgery to replace the damaged disk in his neck. Still, with the off-season trade of Sheldon Brown, Hobbs has moved up on the Eagles' depth chart. He is expected to start at cornerback opposite Asante Samuel. The two are former New England Patriots who started together on that team's nearly perfect 2007 run.
Hobbs returned to the practice field Monday, participating in some of the minicamp but sitting out team drills as the Eagles take his recovery slowly.
For Hobbs, a starting role would mark a welcome return to regular action. He played in situational roles in 2009.
"It was terrible. I hated it. I hated being that way. I've never been in a situation like that before," Hobbs said. "It was very difficult, but there's a professional side of the game that you have to play the hand that you're dealt."
Hobbs is one of two potential starters in the secondary coming off serious injuries. Marlin Jackson, who is playing free safety with the first team in practices, is returning from anterior cruciate ligament tears in both knees in the last two years.
Both have been limited at times in practices. On Thursday, Jackson sat out team drills - when the offense and defense face each other in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 situations, though without pads or tackling. He was back in those situations Monday. Hobbs, meanwhile, ran through some drills Monday but not the team activities, saying he and the coaches wanted to take his recovery slowly.
"I feel like I'm ready," Hobbs said, but added, "There's no need to go out there and be a hero in the month of May or anytime soon."
He said he expects to be "full go" in training camp in late July.
Hobbs said he was not worried about his health coming back from an injury that forced doctors to replace a herniated disk in his neck, "like Jenga." Doctors have told him he is no more likely than anyone else to suffer another neck injury.
He cited his faith and "stupid confidence" in allowing him to put aside any concerns, saying, "There's a reason why I'm out here."
"That might be a little of my schizophrenia out there, being a little crazy," he said.
And, he said, he also expects to keep returning kickoffs.