IT'S DOWN to the shoulder, Sam Bradford said Tuesday, and he wasn't talking about carving strategies for Thursday's dinner.
Bradford spoke to reporters for the first time since he suffered a concussion and a Grade II left shoulder AC sprain against Miami, and he was upbeat about his chances of playing in Detroit, where the Eagles visit the Lions for Thanksgiving.
Bradford, Mark Sanchez, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Eagles coach Chip Kelly all said in various forums they didn't know whether Bradford or Sanchez will start.
Right tackle Lane Johnson, however, took a break from complaining about Eagles fans to confirm that Sanchez has taken all the first-team reps, so he would seem to be in line to start - though there is one more practice, Wednesday, when there is no media access.
A medical source has said that in a quarterback's non-throwing shoulder, it's generally safe to inject and play. Bradford indicated that he needs to be able to use his left arm to protect himself.
"How it progresses from here until gametime and whether me and the coaches feel comfortable with me out there playing" will determine whether he starts, Bradford said.
"It feels better today than it did yesterday. I was able to do some things out there yesterday. Hopefully it continues to get better in the next 48 hours . . . I'd like to be out there, but ultimately it's going to be in the trainers' and the coaches' hands," Bradford said after a Tuesday walkthrough, in which he was listed as "limited."
"I've been cleared for the concussion," he said.
"We need this game probably as bad as we've needed one all year. I hope I'm out there."
Asked specifics on his shoulder, Bradford said: "It's just a little sore, and some of the different movements, when you have to be aggressive and loose, kind of a little bit different, a different feeling."
Bradford said the short week "obviously puts us in a little bit of a bind."
Bradford said the concussion - the scarier part of what happened when Miami linebacker Chris McCain slammed him to the turf 10 days ago - is no longer any factor in whether he plays. He said this was his third career concussion.
"I had some memory loss. It's not the first concussion I've had. The symptoms I had were fairly similar to the ones I've had in the past, and I've been able to recover from those," Bradford said.
Bradford said his limited onfield prep wouldn't be a deal-breaker.
"You'd like to have a full week to prepare, but both us and them are on short weeks this week. I think the good thing about this offense is, we don't change a lot from week to week. We kind of run our stuff," Bradford said.
Sanchez said he is preparing to start, but hasn't been told that will be the case. Shurmur said the decision will be made Wednesday, before the team flies to Detroit.
There might be a bit less drama around this situation if Sanchez hadn't thrown three interceptions in a 45-17 upset loss to Tampa Bay Sunday.
"Each one of those interceptions happened for a reason," Shurmur said. "There's multiple things that happen, but ultimately, you just can't do it."
The Lions started the season 1-7 and a month ago they fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, along with offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan. They've won their two most recent games, at Green Bay and then at home Sunday against Oakland.
The Lions' opponents have a 103.3 passer rating, second worst in the NFL, better than only New Orleans, which recently fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
"You gotta really study hard" to play on one full practice day, Sanchez said. "A couple of late nights, but you've got to balance getting your sleep, too. Coming back from the (Sunday) game, you get hit a couple times, you're a little sore . . . get in the cold tub and sit in there with your iPad and study, try and multitask . . . Lifting weights and putting film on the screen, maximize your time.
"Are you exactly the same as a normal week? It's physically impossible. But same thing coming from the other side - we're both playing on a short week."
Earlier, Shurmur cautioned that the Eagles "wouldn't learn any more" about Bradford's readiness during their Tuesday walkthrough.
Asked if Bradford would start if his shoulder permits, Shurmur said, "We've got to see. Right now, for me to speculate, I don't want to lead anybody down the wrong path here. I don't know; I really don't know. We're going to go out and walk today. (Wednesday), we're going to run. We'll know more then.
"I'm trying to be honest and transparent. But I can't tell you what's going to happen right now because I don't know who's going to be healthy.
"Sam participated in some of what we were doing (on Monday). But (Monday) was a half-speed deal, too, because we were just one day out from the game. So again, it's up in the air."
Kelly was not available to local media Tuesday. He did a conference call with Detroit-area reporters in which he said "Sam feels good" but told them he didn't know who his starter will be.
The Lions gave up at least 28 points a game, four games in a row, but they've allowed just 29 total in their last two. They rank 23rd in yards per play allowed, at 5.7.
"They're a four-man front. (Defensive end) Ziggy Ansah is a terrific pass-rusher. They're real sturdy in the middle with (nose tackle) Haloti Ngata," Shurmur said. "Their linebackers are active. Their secondary, I think they're starting to play well together. I think they found a combination of guys that they feel good about. Certainly the last two weeks, they've played good defense."