Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is Westbrook's Latest Injury A Cause For Alarm?

On Thursday, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook didn't practice for the second consecutive day. Should this cause alarm?
Westbrook began complaining of knee inflammation last Thursday when he left practice early. He didn't work out the rest of the week, but played in Sunday's 30-24 overtime loss to the New York Giants.
Other than an ill-advised fumble, Westbrook played well, with 124 all-purpose yards. The Eagles didn't practice on Monday and Tuesday and prior to Wednesday's workout, coach Andy Reid said that Westbrook wasn't getting worse, but that his knee was sore.
If Westbrook could do this the whole season - not practice, but play in the games - nobody would complain.
But sore knees usually don't heal when a player has to take the pounding in an NFL game, especially a running back.
Plus Westbrook has a growing injury history, one that included missing the final four games last season with a Lis Franc right foot sprain.
He missed most of preseason with a left foot sprain suffered on Aug. 6, but returned to practice on Aug. 28.
The depth is so questionable behind Westbrook that any time he feels a pain, so does the Eagles' offense. Correll Buckhalter is a good 8-10 carry back, but due to the fact that he missed three of the previous four seasons with knee injuries, can't be counted on for the full load.
Ryan Moats continues to attempt to learn the offense and hold onto the ball. Reno Mahe is on the team for his special teams ability more than his talents as a running back.
The Eagles have to hope that Westbrook is able to play and more importantly stay healthy.
Both appear to be questions that will likely last well beyond this week.