By Kevin McGuire
Injuries have piled up on the Philadelphia Eagles all season long, especially with concussion to some key offensive players such as Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek. Entering the final week of the regular season, the offensive concussion issues have been cleared, but now the defense will miss a pair of key players due to concussion symptoms. Veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks and rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox will each be out of action as the Eagles head north to take on the New York Giants, in a game the Giants must win to remain eligible for a playoff spot.
“They’re both at phase two right now, improving, (and) getting ready to go into phase three,” head coach Andy Reid said when addressing the latest injury report, referring to the NFL-mandated concussion treatment procedures. Vick and McCoy each took weeks to come back from separate concussions suffered earlier this season. McCoy returned to the starting lineup last week, and Vick will make his first start since suffering a concussion and seeing rookie Nick Foles take over the offense. Foles was listed on the team’s injured reserved list earlier this week after breaking his hand in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins.
With Kendricks unavailable, Reid says the team is evaluating how to handle the linebacker position this week.
“We’ve got a couple different combinations there,” Reid said. “We’ll just see how it works out.”
One of the likely options the Eagles will have to work with include giving Akeem Jordan more playing time. Jordan sits second on the team depth chart behind Kendricks at WILL linebacker. On the defensive line the Eagles may use Cedric Thornton to move up a spot on the depth chart. Getting rookie Vinny Curry some extra playing time could result from the opening on the line as well, although it is not his true position.
The Eagles may also be without tight end Evan Moore, who is battling back spasms. Evans did not practice on Thursday or Friday and is officially listed as doubtful for this weekend’s game. Fortunately for the Eagles they will have Brent Celek back. Celek returned quickly from a concussion to play last week against Washington, recording three receptions in the game. With Moore’s availability possibly limited at best, the Eagles will have to give a few extra reps to Emil Igwenagu.
Most of the remaining injury notes on the team have been pretty consistent throughout the season. Running back Chris Polk (toe) is listed as questionable this week, but the Eagles will have McCoy and Bryce Brown to lead the ground game, as usual. Wide receivers Jeremy Maclin (knee) and Jason Avant (calf, hamstring) are listed as probable for the game, and Reid feels good about Maclin’s availability for the final game of the year after being restricted in Wednesday’s practice and not practicing Thursday.
“[Maclin] did a good job,” Reid said Friday. Maclin was available for a full practice Friday at the NovaCare Complex. “He looks like he’s ready to go.”
Guard Evan Mathis (ankle) and fullback Stanley Havilli (hamstring) are also listed as probable this week. Each took part in full practices this week.
- Jason Avant, wide receiver (calf, hamstring)
- Stanley Havilli, fullback (hamstring)
- Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver (knee)
- Evan Mathis, guard (ankle)
- Chris Polk, running back (toe)
- Evan Moore, tight end (back)
- Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle (concussion)
- Mycal Kendricks, linebacker (concussion)
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Kevin McGuire covers college football for Examiner.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter (@KevinOnCFB). His work can be found on Examiner.com.