Another week has passed, and the news about the concussion recoveries of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy still is not positive. Vick will miss his fourth game and McCoy his third because lingering issues have yet to subside.
In Vick's case, he still cannot pass the ImPACT test that measures cognitive function because of problems with his eyes, the team said.
McCoy continues to suffer from fatigue. He had a headache that alarmed Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder to the point that McCoy visited the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center earlier this week for further evaluation.
"They're both in Phase 4," Burkholder said. "We're waiting to go to Phase 5, and Phase 5 . . . is contact, so I'm just waiting until they get less symptoms and a little bit better on their reaction time before I move them into that phase."
The Eagles are not yet at the point where they're concerned that concussion symptoms will not subside, he said.
"We're not going to certainly judge that right now," Burkholder said. "We have weeks to go in this season and an offseason and all that kind of stuff, so I think we're headed in the right direction. It's just that we've got to fine-tune our rehab."
Burkholder said that Vick remains in a "stagnant phase" of a test for eye movement and must continue to improve his reaction time.
McCoy passes or fails the ImPACT test depending when he feels symptoms, the trainer said.
When Burkholder returned from Dallas on Monday, McCoy told him he had a headache a day earlier. That concerned Burkholder, who arranged for the meeting with a Pittsburgh specialist. There, McCoy worked with infrared goggles to track his eye movement, saw a neuro-ophthalmologist, and underwent more intense testing, Burkholder said.
The good news is that these symptoms are the only obstacles to recovery for Vick and McCoy. Otherwise, they're working out at "an extremely high level," the trainer said. On Friday morning, they ran 15 100-yard sprints with 50-yard walks in between to maintain a high heart rate.
Vick is "doing absolutely fine" with the exercises and weight room work, while McCoy finds that the symptoms reemerge in the evening, Burkholder said.
"I don't think they're frustrated that it's taking so long," Burkholder said. "I think it's frustrating for them not to be able to play with their teammates right now. I think that they understand my process because I've laid it out to them, and they also understand that we're protecting them to make sure that they're not going into another phase before it's time."
Burkholder would not rule the two out of Thursday's game against Cincinnati because he is solely concerned with this week. But they still need to undergo activity with contact and be cleared by an independent neurologist, and that would happen only if they pass Monday's ImPACT test. At that point, there would be only three days until the game, with just one full practice.
Once Vick and McCoy return to the field - this season or next - they will be recovered from significant concussions. Burkholder said there are different opinions about whether the players are more susceptible to another concussion.
"I don't know that there's tons of research on it right now, and they're studying all that kind of stuff," Burkholder said. "Right now, with the way it is, we think that if . . . LeSean gets rid of his symptoms and Mike gets his fine-motor skill back, that they'll be all right to return this year and not have too many problems."