It was already known that Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley dislocated his elbow in Sunday night's victory over the Cowboys, but on Monday coach Andy Reid revealed that defensive end Brandon Graham tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is done for the year.
Graham injured his knee in the fourth quarter Sunday, and the rookie will most likely be placed on injured reserve, Reid said. He is also expected to have reconstructive surgery soon.
While the premature end to Graham's season isn't as costly as losing Bradley, who is likely to be out until the playoffs and may give way to rookie Jamar Chaney, it is one more casualty to a unit whose struggles are being overshadowed by the potency of the Eagles' offense.
The Eagles have surrendered 23.7 points a game, a whopping 26 passing touchdowns and still have by far the worst red-zone defense in the league.
Missing Asante Samuel for the last three games has not helped matters. Reid said that the Pro Bowl cornerback showed improvement on Monday and that he should practice on Wednesday. But that has been a familiar refrain from the coach since Samuel sprained his knee.
"There's nobody that wants to play more than Asante," Reid said. "This guy doesn't miss games. That's not his deal. . . . Now, he had a good workout today, so we'll see."
With Samuel still a question mark, the Bradley and Graham injuries couldn't have come at a worse time, with the New York Giants next on the schedule. Sunday's showdown at the Meadowlands is shaping up to be for all the NFC East marbles, and the Eagles will be arriving with a rookie middle linebacker making his first start in the NFL.
"I ain't got no choice but to be ready," Chaney said Sunday night following the Eagles' 30-27 come-from-behind victory over Dallas. "If I don't get the job done, they'll bring somebody else in. So, like I told everybody before, when I get my shot I'm going to make the best of it."
Reid did not definitively say that Chaney was his starter. He said he had to meet first with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott before a final decision was made. But all signs point to the 2010 seventh-round draft pick out of Mississippi State being the guy.
When Bradley gruesomely dislocated his right elbow in the second quarter Sunday night, Chaney finished the game at middle linebacker and led the team with seven tackles.
"His challenge will be now that he's on film, people have the opportunity to study him," Reid said. "So he has to take it up another notch."
Reid said that he was not going to place Bradley on injured reserve and thus end any hope that he would return if the Eagles were to make the postseason. But he said it was "going to be a couple of weeks here, and possibly more" before he could play.
Bradley, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, has been inconsistent all season. But he was on an upswing before his elbow injury.
"I saw him down and I said, 'Oh Lord, here we go. Let's go,' " Chaney said.
As the middle linebacker, Chaney is responsible for making calls in the huddle and aligning the defensive linemen.
"Actually, it was pretty surprising. He's quiet off the field, but in the huddle he was doing a good job commanding and making the calls loud and clear," Eagles safety Quintin Mikell said.
If Chaney were to falter, the Eagles have alternatives. Omar Gaither would appear to be the most obvious, having started at middle linebacker as recently as Week 2 and 24 times before in his career. But he had a rough outing against the Detroit Lions and did not dress Sunday for the second time this season.
Akeem Jordan opened the season as the starting strong-side linebacker but lost that job to Moise Fokou. He played some in the middle last season. For now, at least, it looks to be Chaney's position to lose. Reid likes the improvement he's seen out of the 6-foot, 242-pounder since April's draft.
"Jamar's strength wasn't using his hands," Reid said. "He did everything with speed, quickness, and making guys miss. . . . In the [NFL] you have to be able to use your hands and get on and off these blocks quickly with big men attacking you, and he developed that."
As of Monday night, the Eagles did not make a roster move and add a defensive end in place of Graham. But one should be forthcoming. For Graham, the injury is a bitter end to what had to be termed a disappointing first season for the Eagles' top draft pick.
He played through nagging injuries but managed just 18 tackles and three sacks in 13 games. He will face a long rehabilitation and be a long shot to make it back in time for next season.
"It's a tough rehab," Reid said.
Jamar Chaney File
With middle linebacker Stewart Bradley out indefinitely with an elbow injury, rookie Jamar Chaney is his likely replacement. Here is a look at Chaney:
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 242 pounds
College: Mississippi State. A two-time second-team all-SEC pick, he had 288 tackles, 41/2 sacks and two interceptions in college.
Birthdate: Oct. 11, 1986
Hometown: St. Lucie, Fla.
Acquired by Eagles: 2010 draft, seventh round, 220th overall pick.
On the season: Inactive for the first game of the season, he has played mostly special teams in the 12 games since. Including Sunday, he has 11 defensive tackles and is tied for second on the team with 11 tackles on special teams.
On Sunday against the Cowboys: He finished with a team-high seven tackles.