Clay Harbor fractured three bones in his back and had a muscle pull off in the second quarter of last Thursday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He somehow played the rest of the game.
"Most pain I've ever been in," Harbor said.
He was even surprised he stayed in the game. But with Brent Celek out of the lineup, Harbor knew the Eagles were shorthanded. He tried taking a painkiller and applying numbing cream, but the pain remained. His second half included a costly fumble, but he finished the game.
"For the team, I had to stay out there," Harbor said. "I couldn't run, I couldn't touch anybody. Just tried to get in people's way."
Harbor was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. He will not require surgery, but will most six to eight weeks while recovering. Harbor expects to return for mini-camp.
The injury ended a season in which Harbor had 25 catches and two touchdowns, but did not have the effect that was expected of him before the season.
"I definitely improved as a player," Harbor said. "It's the best season I've had since I've been here. Blocking, receiving. We just got down a lot, a lot of games. We'd come in with a lot of gameplan for two tight end sets, but you get down, you got to throw the ball to catch up."
Emil Igwenagu will now take snaps as No. 2 tight end and will also need to contribute at fullback with Stanley Havili injured. Chris Polk will also play fullback.
"You want to play either way, but you never wish anybody an injury to get that position," Igwenagu said.
Igwenagu's value is in large part due to his versatility. The coaching staff appreciated that in training camp, and now he can play two different positions for the Eagles.