PHILADELPHIA – In general, a lot of Philadelphia Eagles players have had positive experiences with coach Chip Kelly’s sports science program. Good nutrition and extra sleep are probably not bad ideas for anyyone. And the focus on work and recovery has many veteran players saying they feel better during the season than they ever have in the past.
But even Kelly acknowledges the limits.
“That’s part of what we try to do here,” Kelly said on March 12. “But if a guy breaks a leg, a guy breaks a leg. I don’t know if there’s anybody from a sports science standpoint who can heal a broken bone very quickly. Sometimes you have to look at the specific injuries. Instead of making a blanket statement -- `We’re not going to do this’ or `We’re not going to do that’ – the key point is to really look at the injuries and then spend some time and rely on our trainers and medical staff in terms of what they think from a recovery standpoint.”
Kelly said there was no intentional plan to acquire injured players. It was just that players with injuries tend to be available. Case in point: Sam Bradford. The St. Louis Rams probably wouldn’t have been willing to part with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft if injuries hadn’t made Bradford a risk for them.
So here’s a look at the injured players acquired by the Eagles this offseason and their status as March turns to April.
Sam Bradford: The quarterback tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, the same injury he sustained during the 2013 season, on Aug. 23, 2014. Bradford had the knee repaired by Dr. James Andrews, who suggested a slightly slower rehab process than was taken last year. Bradford has not yet been cleared for football activity. He said he expected to be ready to go by the start of training camp.
Kiko Alonso: The linebacker tore his ACL while working out in Oregon on July 1. Alonso, who previously tore his other ACL, said his rehab was progressing well. He could be on the field for organized team activities in June and is expected to be cleared in time for training camp in July.
Walter Thurmond: The cornerback signed with the New York Giants as a free agent last year after beginning his NFL career in Seattle. Thurmond tore a pectoral muscle in the second game of the season and was placed on injured reserve. Thurmond said when he signed that he will be ready to go in OTAs.
Ryan Mathews: The running back missed 12 games in 2014 because of knee and ankle injuries. Jimmy Kempski of phillyvoice.com reported that Mathews appeared on the San Diego Chargers’ injury report 46 times between 2010 and 2014. Mathews is expected to be ready for training camp.
Miles Austin: The wide receiver went on injured reserve in December after injuring a kidney during a game. Austin signed with the Cleveland Browns last year after being released by the Dallas Cowboys. While with the Cowboys, Austin missed 11 games from 2011 to 2013 due to hamstring, knee and hip injuries.
DeMarco Murray: The running back was a workhorse for the Cowboys in 2014, playing in all 18 games, including the postseason. He missed a total of 11 games over his first three NFL seasons, due to hamstring and knee injuries. Murray is healthy going into the 2015 OTAs.