Traversing the NovaCare corridor, and talking on the radio, is a little different from playing quarterback. Eagles coach Andy Reid announced that Vick has cracked rib cartilage, "up high in that second and third rib . . . high in the sternum." Adding to the chestfest, Reid announced that running back LeSean McCoy suffered a broken rib near halftime of Sunday's 17-12 loss to the Redskins, then played the second half.
The concussions suffered by corner Asante Samuel and wideout Riley Cooper seemed less serious - Reid described them as "mild" - though both, of course, have to navigate testing protocols before they are cleared to play Sunday night at San Francisco.
Reid did not offer any timetables, other than to say Vick's status was "day to day, week to week," and that McCoy "possibly" could play this week with extra padding. His injury presumably is much lower on his chest than Vick's.
The Eagles did not make any medical personnel available to reporters. Dr. Art Bartolozzi, a former team orthopedist for the Eagles and the Flyers who is not involved in Vick's treatment, said he would estimate anywhere from a 2-to-6-week absence for a quarterback with such an injury. Dr. David Rubenstein, a Sixers team orthopedist, also not involved in Vick's treatment, said on Comcast SportsNet's "Daily News Live" he would classify Vick's chances of playing this weekend as "very remote."
Bartolozzi said Vick will first have to get to the point where he can take a deep breath, after cracking the tissue that connects the ribs to the breastbone. Then, "the rib cage and muscles will have to stabilize." Bartolozzi said a throwing motion will aggravate the injury, if Vick tries to play before it completely heals - a point echoed by Rubenstein.
"The most important thing is just rest," Vick said in his radio appearance. "There is really nothing you can do for a rib injury, especially in the upper part of your rib cage. I'll get rest, I've got a hyperbaric machine and I'll be spending a lot of time in that trying to restore my blood cells. I'll stay in the treatment room, getting ice for it and just trying to get movement."
Vick was injured late in the first quarter when Redskins defensive backs Kareem Moore and DeAngelo Hall slammed into him at the same instant from opposite directions, one Redskin on each shoulder as Vick lunged for the end zone. Given the freak circumstance, "it could have been worse," Bartolozzi said.
Bartolozzi said the injury "feels like a broken rib," but healing actually is tougher to gauge than the knitting of a bone.
After San Francisco, the Eagles host Atlanta, then travel to Tennessee before their Halloween bye week. If Vick were to rest through the bye, he could return Nov. 7, at home against the Colts.
"He's sore," Reid said when asked how Vick was feeling. "We'll just see how it goes and how he feels along the way."
McCoy apparently was injured on a 9-yard run for a first down at the Washington 4, with a minute and 45 seconds left in the first half. He returned and carried the ball two plays later, the play on which he was ruled down just short of the goal line, setting in motion the chain of events that led to the Eagles taking a delay-of-game penalty on fourth down, inside the Redskins' 1.
McCoy ran nine times for 26 yards in the first half and caught six passes for 72 yards. In the second half, playing with the injury, he ran seven times for 38 yards and caught six passes for another 38.
Roster moves would seem quite possible at quarterback, wideout and running back. (If Samuel is sidelined, the Eagles still have four corners, so a move there seems less likely.) Cooper has been one of only four wideouts on the roster since the team released Hank Baskett Sept. 21. If Vick is sidelined, fourth-round rookie Mike Kafka becomes the only backup to Kevin Kolb. At running back, the Eagles have Mike Bell, Joique Bell and Eldra Buckley, but Joique Bell and Buckley are primarily here to play special teams, and Mike Bell has gained all of 20 yards on 12 carries this season, looking ponderous. McCoy is a big part of the offense; his 445 total yards in four games ranked fifth in the NFL coming out of Sunday's games.
Reuben Frank, of the Burlington County Times, reported yesterday that the Eagles had asked the Bills about the possible availability of running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, part of a crowded backfield picture in Buffalo, has been featured in a number of trade rumors, but the Bills have said they don't plan to move him before the Oct. 19 trade deadline. He presumably would be an expensive, long-term acquisition, not a quick fill-in. And Lynch has a complicated off-the-field history that includes weapons and hit-and-run charges, and an NFL suspension.
The most obvious quarterbacking move would be two-time former Eagle Jeff Garcia, now playing for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. Garcia, 40, reportedly is available if an NFL team deigns to pay the Nighthawks $150,000 for his contract.
Doug Hendrickson, who conveniently is the agent for both Lynch and Garcia, did not respond to a request for comment.
Reid spoke of needing to meet with general manager Howie Roseman before proceeding on any of those fronts.
"We've talked a little bit," Reid said. "I just have to see, again, how [Vick] progresses here, and we'll have a list together in case we need to go in that direction."
The Eagles have three wideouts on their practice squad: Chad Hall, Rod Harper and Jeremy Williams. They have no practice-squad running backs or quarterbacks; running back Martell Mallett hooked onto the Browns' practice squad after being released by the Birds a few weeks ago, and he presumably would be available to be signed onto a 53-man roster.
Of course, the Eagles would have to move players off the 53-man to make room for any additions.
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