Three Philadelphia Eagles players have torn anterior cruciate ligaments on non-contact injuries so far in training camp. All three -- wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn and linebacker Jason Phillips -- suffered their injury on the same middle practice field at the team's NovaCare complex. Per Geoff Mosher, Eagles coach Chip Kelly isn't writing it off as coincidence:
“We're looking into everything,” he said. “Obviously, when you have the same injury and it happens in a two‑week span or whatever it is, we’re going to look at it and try to figure out, obviously, is it preventable? Is it something that we can make sure doesn't happen?
“But I don't have any information. I know we're looking at it. But a lot happens any time we have injuries. Our doctors and trainers are trying to figure that part out how the overall scope of everything we do. But it's something that we certainly are looking at right now.”
The irony is that the reason Kelly moved training camp to the team's regular-season practice complex and away from Lehigh University was the quality of the facilities (weight room, cafeteria, etc.) at home in Philadelphia. If it turns out that the condition of the fields is at all responsible for major knee injuries to Eagles players, that would obviously be something to get corrected right away. Though you also have to believe it would have come up before now, since the Eagles have been practicing on those fields during the regular season for years now.
The fields were very muddy the day I saw the Eagles practice at NovaCare, as the city had endured a record rainfall the previous afternoon and evening. That was the day Phillips got hurt, but it was two days after Maclin got hurt, so it's hard to see a connection there. The whole thing could end up being coincidence -- players get hurt all the time, and the Eagles aren't the only NFL team dealing with hearbreaking season-ending injuries the past couple of weeks. But I'm certain Kelly & Co. will do what they can to rule out any possibility that the field is dangerous to players' knees, or to fix it if it is.