Eagles RB McCoy cleared to play, despite cracked rib

LeSean McCoy will wear a flak jacket to protect his rib injury against 49ers.
LeSean McCoy will wear a flak jacket to protect his rib injury against 49ers.
Posted: October 09, 2010

YOU'LL NOTICE more than a few changes from your Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow night in San Francisco, some of them planned, some not.

All week, Andy Reid seemed to anticipate he would have his two latest concussion victims, corner Asante Samuel and wideout Riley Cooper, on the field against the 49ers. But Reid said yesterday that neither Samuel nor Cooper would make the trip. Samuel, he said, has no symptoms but can't pass concussion testing. Cooper can pass the testing but suddenly has developed symptoms. So Joselio Hanson likely will start at corner opposite Ellis Hobbs, and practice-squad wideout Chad Hall traveled with the team to San Francisco, though no roster move has been made.

Running back LeSean McCoy practiced yesterday and will play with a cracked rib, Reid and McCoy said, wearing a flak jacket. It's unclear whether McCoy can handle a full load.

Reid confirmed two more performance-based changes to the starting lineup. Max Jean-Gilles is now the right guard, whether or not sore-kneed Nick Cole is able to play. And Juqua Parker is back at left defensive end, the spot he lost to first-round rookie Brandon Graham in training camp. Reid couched this in terms of each of them playing in certain packages, with the package determining which end will start, but Graham confirmed that Parker is No. 1 on the depth chart again. Earlier in the week, Moise Fokou replaced Akeem Jordan at strongside linebacker.

"That's the best man for the job right now," said Graham, who is working through shoulder and ankle injuries. "I'm right behind him . . . I'm not mad at the situation. We're both going to play the same amount of reps."

Graham didn't play well against Washington. He said he tweaked his ankle on the final play of the Jacksonville game the week before.

"It ended up being a high ankle sprain. I've just been trying to get back [to 100 percent] quick," he said.

Parker leads the Eagles with four sacks.

As expected, quarterback Michael Vick did not make the trip, as he recovers from cracked rib cartilage that likely will keep him out at least a few weeks. Kevin Kolb and rookie Mike Kafka will be the Eagles' only QBs.

Reid seemed optimistic that McCoy, who played the second half against the Redskins with his injury, will be fully functional.

"He feels good, and we'll see by game time, but I think he's going to be OK to go and do a normal load," Reid said.

McCoy agreed.

"I feel good, I feel ready to go," said McCoy, whose 445 total yards rank fifth among NFL running backs. "I played the whole half with the injury. I feel definitely confident. I mean, there's going to be a little pain, but that comes with the territory. This type of business, this type of game, guys are going to be banged up."

McCoy said the protective jacket "helps me out a lot. It fits me tight."

His injury is much lower on his rib cage than Vick's, which makes breathing easier and also makes the affected area easier to pad.

"I can breathe," McCoy said. "That's the biggest thing about this injury, people are nervous about breathing."

And sleep?

"With the right pills, you sleep well," McCoy said.

"He's tough as nails," Kolb said of McCoy. "It's a tribute to him and how bad he wants it."

Hanson, meanwhile, began his career with the 49ers in 2004. He has been an Eagle since 2006.

"I'm excited to play my old team, get out there and play a lot more," Hanson said. He said in nickel, he will play inside as usual and Dimitri Patterson will play outside.

"I don't feel any pressure," Hanson said. "I'm just going out there and playing a game I've played all my life. I love playing on national TV, too, so I should be real pumped."

Hall, the former Air Force Academy star who spent 2 years working on a service commitment before returning to football with the Eagles this year, said he doesn't know when he will be told whether he is playing. He got Cooper's reps in practice all week.

The Eagles would need to drop a player from their 53-man roster to add Hall. Reid said it would be possible to line up one of his three tight ends in a wideout spot, which would keep Hall on the practice squad. Probably the team is calculating its chances of being able to cut someone and bring him back next week without another team picking him up.

"I'm excited . . . I'm a step closer," Hall said. "I'm ready. I've been working hard."

"The things that we have him in on, he feels very comfortable [with], and I feel very comfortable with him in there," Kolb said of Hall, Kolb perhaps hinting that Hall will indeed play. "Chad's an intelligent guy and a good athlete, so he won't have a problem."

With everything that was going on, it was almost possible to forget that Kolb will be making only his fourth career start tomorrow night, his first on the road. He spent 5 months preparing to succeed Donovan McNabb, then was told after missing the second game of the season with a concussion that he would be playing behind Vick. Then Vick went down just before the end of the first quarter last week.

"It's been a different year than I'd played out in my head," Kolb said. "But here we are in Week 5, and I'm starting. We just need to go be 3-2. If you let all the other distractions come into play, then you're doing too much."

Birdseed

The NFL fined safety Quintin Mikell, $7,500 for a horse-collar tackle on Redskins receiver Santana Moss . . . Guard Reggie Wells did not practice yesterday because of illness, the Eagles said, but he is scheduled to be active tomorrow . . . Joselio Hanson indicated rookie corner Trevard Lindley will be active this week. It will be interesting to see how all the injuries affect who's up. If Lindley is activated, perhaps corner/returner Jorrick Calvin won't be, with Chad Hall presumably available to help with returns.

For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/LesBowen.

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