Vick's hand bruised, not broken

Posted: September 27, 2011

Michael Vick has a deep bone bruise in his right hand - his non-throwing hand - and, after the Eagles' miserable home opener, that passed for good news Monday.

The team on Sunday thought the hand was broken.

The bruise is still problematic, though, leaving Vick's status for Sunday's game against the 49ers in doubt. He has not been ruled out, though.

"It all remains to be seen. I've got to take it one day at a time and see how everything unfolds," Vick said Monday, his hand wrapped into a thick club. "It's a little sore. It's still swollen, but I think with rehab we'll see how it recovers and how well it gets."

Coach Andy Reid would not say if Vince Young or Mike Kafka would get the start if Vick can't play.

"I haven't even gotten there yet. I'm still on the swelling in Michael's hand and if he'll be ready to play," Reid said. He obviously is hoping that his franchise quarterback will be available as the Eagles try to improve from a 1-2 start. The team will be looking to ease the swelling that forced Vick from Sunday's game.

"We'll see if we can get the swelling to where it's manageable and his hand where he feels comfortable," Reid said.

If Vick had broken his hand, he would almost certainly be out Sunday - and possibly longer. For him to play this week, the swelling will have to ease enough for Vick to bend his hand and use it in game situations. On Monday afternoon, it was still as swollen as after Sunday's game, Reid said.

"He still has a bunch of swelling in it that's got to get out of there. It's sensitive to the touch right now," Reid said. "The positive is that there was not a fracture."

Still, a bone bruise can take more than a week to heal.

"No. 1, it's a painful injury, and No. 2, it makes that area susceptible to repeated trauma," said Michael Hausman, chief of hand and elbow surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. "Even a relatively minor injury could make it symptomatic again."

Charles Leinberry, a hand and wrist specialist at the Rothman Institute, said an athlete such as Vick will need to get his hand back to a full range of motion, make the pain manageable, and regain full strength.

"You treat the bone bruise or bone contusion a little more cautiously than you do a soft tissue contusion," Leinberry said.

While the swelling from a soft tissue bruise might decrease in three to four days, Leinberry said, a bone bruise can take another week, though recovery time depends on the individual. Hausman said a full recovery could take at least a week, and the risk of aggravating the injury could last for up to six.

Vick said he would "evaluate the situation and make sure when I step on the field make sure it's a safe situation."

His durability is already a recurring theme just three games into the season and a new five-year contract.

Initial X-rays Sunday showed no fracture, but a second X-ray led the Eagles to believe there was a break, according to Reid. A CAT scan Monday revealed that there was no break after all, Reid said. A blood vessel over the bone seemed to show a fracture in the X-ray images, Reid said. That is a relatively common misdiagnosis often corrected by CAT scans, both doctors said.

Vick was hurt while trying to protect himself on a hit by Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty, not when he braced himself as he fell to the ground, Reid said.

Reid would not commit to a starting quarterback if Vick is out. Young, far more experienced than Kafka, was not quite fully healthy last week.

"That top-end this past week, I didn't think was there. But we'll see how he does this week," Reid said. "I think he's very close to be back physically."

On his radio show on WIP (610-AM and 94.1-FM) Monday night, Reid said he believes Young will be able to play Sunday if he's needed.

The Eagles are hoping that's not the case. For a second week, the quarterback watch continues.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.

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