Michael Vick injures thumb, leaves game

It's easy to overreact to things that happen in preseason NFL games. But every now and then, something happens that could actually be quite serious. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick injuring his throwing hand, for example.

Vick left Thursday night's preseason game against the Steelers after he whacked his left thumb on the helmet of center Jason Kelce while throwing a pass in the second quarter. He did not immediately go to the locker room for treatment, but team medical personnel checked out the thumb, and Vick was holding it in a cup of ice while he watched backup Mike Kafka operate the offense. Which Kafka did not do well.

During halftime, the Eagles announced that an X-ray on Vick's thumb had come back negative. No information as of yet on his availability for upcoming practices or the next game.

Now, look. This could be nothing. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo did the same thing last year in Week 16 and still managed to play Week 17 against the Giants. And Vick has 31 days before he has to be ready to play in a real game. The negative X-ray is obviously encouraging if you're an Eagles fan.

But any potentially serious injury to Vick, who's only played a full 16-game season once in his career, is cause for concern in Philadelphia. Because while Kafka may be a swell guy who knows the offense well and all of that, the plain fact is that without Vick the Eagles are not a contending team this year. He is as important to his team's success as any player in the league this year, and the Eagles' potential success is tied almost 100 percent to his health and productivity.

"Hopefully we don't have to be too concerned," Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson said during a sideline interview on the Eagles' television broadcast just before halftime. "He just banged his hand on the helmet as he threw the football, and it's swollen a little bit. Hopefully it's not too serious."

Hopefully, indeed, for the Eagles. Nothing else that's happened in a so-far-disappointing preseason opener is as distressing as a potentially serious injury to Vick.