TURNED OUT the Eagles didn't have to make a tough decision about whether to put Jason Kelce on the new, recallable injured reserve, which can only be used once per season. When team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Peter DeLuca got a good look Tuesday morning at Kelce's right knee with his arthroscope, the partial tear of Kelce's anterior cruciate ligament was severe enough and placed in such a spot that DeLuca felt a reconstruction would be needed.
"His knee was much looser than it was on the field [Sunday], or in the training room [Monday]," Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder told reporters on a conference call. Burkholder said DeLuca and his associate, Dr. Chris Dodson, "proceeded to fix his medial collateral ligament," which was completely torn. Initially, an MCL repair wasn't planned, but Burkholder explained that the ligament had "rolled up a little bit from its attachment point" and might not heal quickly on its own.
The Eagles announced Kelce, 24, will go on the regular, season-ending IR. They are using his roster spot for veteran offensive lineman Steve Vallos, who was with the Eagles in training camp.
Kelce texted Tuesday night that he thinks the Eagles can win it all without him, with longtime practice-squad fixture Dallas Reynolds at center.
"I'm looking forward to watching this team the rest of the way," Kelce said. "I truly believe they have the ability and coaching to achieve the highest reward."
Burkholder said the Eagles will wait 3 or 4 weeks for the MCL repair to heal, then Kelce's ACL will be replaced by tendon.
"Most of those ACLs go anywhere from 6 to 12 months," Burkholder said. "We like to take about 9 months, if we can, and that'll take us into training camp next year. We anticipate with his knee, the way it looked in there this morning according to Dr. DeLuca, and his age . . . he will have a really good surgery, rehab and recovery . . . He doesn't have any other damage in his knee in terms of joint surfaces or his meniscus, nerves, blood vessels, or any of that. That's a good, straightforward injury, even though it's two ligaments."
Burkholder said Kelce, a starter since he arrived last year in the sixth round from Cincinnati, "was hoping for the best, but prepared himself for the worst."
Kelce went down in the third quarter of Sunday's victory over Baltimore. He was blocking downfield for LeSean McCoy when Ravens safety Ed Reed lunged at McCoy and missed. Reed's helmet drove into Kelce's right knee.
Tuesday night on Twitter, Kelce lamented that he had forgotten to pay his cable bill and his service was shut off, which he noted wasn't optimal, right after knee surgery. Former Eagles center Jamaal Jackson, who Sunday had offered encouragement to Kelce, Tuesday night advised him on Twitter to use the automatic-payment option.
Vallos, 28, was a 2007 seventh-round pick of the Seahawks who also has played for the Browns. He looked good in preseason work with the Eagles this year, before being released in the final cutdown.