Lehigh injuries: Cooper fractures collarbone
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Eagles lost third-year wide receiver Riley Cooper Saturday for at least several weeks with a broken collarbone.
The Eagles haven’t said whether Cooper, their fourth receiver last year, will be placed on Injured Reserve or kept on the active roster. Broken collarbones are generally anywhere from four- to- eight-month injuries, although the duration depends on the extent of the injury.
A normal broken collarbone would not be a season-ending injury, but general manager Howie Roseman said after practice Saturday at Lehigh that he didn’t have enough information yet to know how long Cooper will be out or whether the Eagles will have to make a roster move.
“We’ll have a medical meeting tonight like we have every night and talk to our doctors and trainers and we’ll go from there,” Roseman said. “We bring competition and depth at every position, because this is a game where there’s going to be some attrition.
“We’re excited about the guys on our roster. At any position, if there’s something that interests us, we’ll explore it.”
The Saturday afternoon practice was the Eagles' first at camp with full pads and live periods, but Cooper actually went down early in practice during a routine non-contact 1-on-1 drill.
He nearly made a circus catch of a deep ball from Michael Vick but got tangled up with cornerback Curtis Marsh at the right sideline and dropped the ball as he landed hard on the ground.
Cooper stayed down on his knees for several minutes until a trainer arrived. He left the field walking under his own power and didn’t return to practice.
“We’ve got 13 receivers in camp, and we’ll just evaluate it as we go on,” Roseman said. “We still have some time before our first game.”
The Eagles open the season on Sept. 9 in Cleveland, six weeks from Sunday.
Cooper projects to be the Eagles’ fourth receiver, behind DeSean Jackson, Maclin and Jason Avant.
Cooper, 24, caught 16 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown in 16 games last year. In two NFL seasons, he has 23 catches for 431 yards and two TDs.
But Cooper put up very good numbers during a three-game stretch last year when he made his first three NFL starts in place of injured Jeremy Maclin. In a three-game stretch against the Giants, Patriots and Seahawks, he caught 13 balls for 240 yards and his one 2011 touchdown.
“I think it’s a bump in the road,” Roseman said. “He’ll recover from it. He’s had a good off-season and because he’s had that good off-season, he’s gotten a lot of reps in the off-season and gotten stronger and gotten more knowledge of our system, and that will benefit him when he’s ready to come back.”
In addition to Jackson, Maclin, Avant and Cooper, the Eagles have veterans Chad Hall and Mardy Gilyard in camp, plus rookies or
first-year pros Damaris Johnson, McKay Jacobson, Ron Johnson, Marvin
McNutt, Jamel Hamler, Tiger Jones and Elvis Akpla.
Gilyard, a fourth-round pick of the Rams back in 2010, caught six passes for 63 yards in brief action with the Rams in 2010. He’s also in the mix to return kickoffs for the Eagles. He averaged 22.3 yards on 16 returns with St. Louis in 2010.
Hall, who’s played in 15 games with the Eagles the last two years, has 14 career receptions for 135 yards and two TDs along with 12 career rushes for a 3.5 average. Like Gilyard, if he’s going to make the team, it will be because of his return ability. He has a 10.7 career punt return average.
To answer the obligatory Plaxico Burress question (more on that here)
... remember this: On the Eagles (and most teams), the fourth receiver must be able to play cover teams or help in the return game, something Burress, now 34, would not be a factor on.
Also, the Eagles are high on their young receivers, especially Johnson, the NCAA’s all-time Division 1 all-purpose yardage record holder, and McNutt, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound rookie sixth-round pick from Iowa who led the Big 12 in receiving last year.
Plus, Burress just isn’t anywhere near the player he used to be. He turns 35 in two weeks and is five years removed from his last season with over 615 yards.Other injuries
Defensive end Jason
Babin has a right calf strain. It's not an Achilles injury. He will get
an MRI tomorrow. Babin had a career-high 18 sacks last year.
Antonio Dixon was carted off the
practice field after cramping up in the hot weather. Dixon played in the first four games of 2011
before he was placed on the Injured Reserve with a torn triceps in early
Trent Cole sat out for a while after overheating, but he returned to practice after about 25 minutes.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org