Injuries continue to pile up for Birds at camp
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Eagles have 13 more days before training camp breaks at Lehigh.
And players are dropping like flies.
Before Thursday, the Birds were already without Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Mike Patterson, Colt Anderson, Brent Celek and Cullen Jenkins.
During Thursday’s afternoon practice, Jamar Chaney (left hamstring), O.J. Atogwe (left groin), LeSean McCoy (cramps) and Nate Allen (cramps) all walked off the fields and into the fieldhouse.
McCoy said, "I'm fine," as he left the fieldhouse after practice.
Also, Todd Herremans (shoulder) and wideout Jamel Hamler (right hamstring) were on the injury report. Evan Mathis was sick and wasn’t able to attend the walk-through or the afternoon practice.
At one point on Thursday, Dallas Reynolds and Dennis Kelly were working with the first-team offensive line.
The only player to return to practice from injury on Thursday was undrafted free agent rookie safety Phillip Thomas.
Chaney’s hamstring injury appears to be the most serious of the new bunch. He walked off the field gingerly and will have an MRI on Thursday night.
"It's a grind, man. It's rough. It's tougher mentally than physically,” safety Kurt Coleman said. “Everybody's hurting physically right now. The ones who are mentally tougher are going to be the ones who get through it. It's a tough camp, but we needed a tough camp.
“Last year, we couldn't have a tough camp because of the lockout and it affected us during the season. We made mental mistakes. This year, we're not going to have mental mistakes. This is what coach Reid wants. Not guys getting hurt, but he wants to break us down and then build us back up. Right now, we're getting broken down pretty good."
The most important thing in training camp is getting ready for the season. The second most important thing is staying healthy. And there’s a fine line in doing both.
“I didn’t even notice,” offensive guard Danny Watkins said about players leaving the field. “It’s good though. It’s getting us conditioned for the games. I think it’s a good thing. I didn’t even notice. It’s training camp, you’re gonna get beat up and banged up. It’s one of those things to be expected.
“You’re gonna get banged up in the season and it’s a battle of attrition and this is a good warmup to get your body prepared for that.”
It’s important to note that there was only a short period of live hitting toward the end of the practice. These injuries came with minimal contact.
The numbers are especially light on the defensive line, where Babin, Jenkins, Patterson and Cole haven’t been able to practice. That’s the entire starting line.
In their absence younger guys, like Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry have been trying to make the most of their additional reps (see story)
. The Eagles also worked out Temple product defensive end Morkeith Brown on Thursday (see story)
“It’s part of the game,” rookie quarterback Nick Foles said. “Injuries are gonna happen. That’s part of the game. Other guys are gonna get an opportunity and they have to move forward.”
At least two of those new injuries appeared to be heat-related. Allen and McCoy left the field looking fine and were listed with cramps. It’s hot in Lehigh – mid-90s hot. This season, the Eagles flipped the practice schedule; the light walk-through is now in the cooler morning and the hard-hitting practice is now in the afternoon.
“It’s hot. I don’t know what else to say,” Watkins said. “It’s hot.”
One guy who should know something about playing in the heat is Nick Foles, who was the quarterback at the University of Arizona last season.
“It’s hot. I was in Arizona and it’s hot there,” Foles said. “But it’s a little more humid here.
“That’s good for mental toughness. Sometimes when it’s really hot, your body starts breaking down and you really have to hunker down and focus on the plays. It’s good for us.”
The most important thing for the Eagles to do, according to linebacker Brian Rolle, is to do what they’ve been doing. They shouldn’t change the way they practice.
“You can’t worry about injuries or not getting hurt,” Rolle said. “Once you start worrying about that, that’s when you get hurt.”
And, that’s the last thing the Eagles need.E-mail Dave Zangaro at firstname.lastname@example.org