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News » Injury analysis: Eagles battered and bruised

Injury analysis: Eagles battered and bruised

Injury analysis: Eagles battered and bruised
The Eagles' top offensive threats, Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb, both went to the lockerroom early on Sunday.

Westbrook injured his right ankle when he hurdled over Steelers cornerback William Gay on the first play of the second quarter. As the running back came down, his ankle was forced outward in a direction known as eversion. When the ankle is everted the ligaments on the inside of it are stressed and stretched, resulting in a sprain. There are mixed reports as to what exactly has happened to Westbrook's ankle. Coach Andy Reid has called the injury a strain, but Westbrook called it a sprain. The difference is that a sprain indicates ligament damage while a strain occurs when muscles or tendons are injured. X-rays were negative, and an MRI showed the ligaments were intact. Sprain or strain, Westbrook admittedly called this particular injury very painful. His status is being called day-to-day, but it's likely he'll miss this week's game in Chicago. If he's inactive, Correll Buckhalter will get the start.

McNabb suffered a chest contusion late in the first quarter, but was able to return to the game early in the third. He likely injured his sternum, the primary chest bone that serves as an attachment site for a majority of the ribs. While the injury can be quite painful, McNabb's return is a solid sign he'll be ready to go against the Bears in Week 4. With Westbrook hampered, McNabb may be asked to be more active in the passing game and step up in the running back's absence.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left the same game early after injuring his right hand. The initial X-rays were negative, and the team believes the quarterback will ready to go for Week 4. Roethlisberger was pounded by the Eagles defense as he was sacked eight times before leaving early. With the blitz-happy Ravens on the schedule for Week 4, the Steelers line needs to protect its battered and bruised quarterback - the line has given up 13 sacks in just three weeks. Already this year Big Ben has suffered from a separated shoulder, a hyperextended knee, and now this hand injury.

Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker will miss Week 4 with a left knee sprain. A knee sprain can be particularly debilitating, depending on its severity as well as which knee ligaments have been sprained. Details on the injury remain vague, but coach Mike Tomlin said the injury occurred late in the fourth quarter in the game against the Eagles and led to some discomfort for the Pro Bowl running back. Fortunately the sprain is not in the leg Parker fractured last season, and with the Steelers' Week 6 bye not far away, Parker may be shelved until Week 7. Rookie Rashard Mendenhall will start in Parker's absence.

Another quarterback spending time in the athletic training room is Detroit's Jon Kitna. Kitna sprained his right knee in the fourth quarter after being sacked and later stated the injury was a culmination of multiple hits that occurred throughout the game. With the Lions heading into the bye week Kitna will be able to rest the injured knee for the time being. Continue to monitor his status as the winless Lions may begin playing younger players like Drew Stanton to evaluate what they have on their roster.

The Saints offense took a hit as Jeremy Shockey will miss at least three weeks with a sports hernia. This condition occurs when a protrusion of abdominal viscera, referred to as a hernia, projects out of a lower segment of the abdominal wall. This segment is known as the inguinal canal and is susceptible to weakening which allows a hernia to develop. While Shockey is a phenomenal athlete and in superb physical form, muscle strength is not a factor in the development of a sports hernia. The hernia simply forms in a thin and weaker area of the abdominals leading to pain within the region that increases when running and cutting. Shockey has already undergone surgery in which the protrusion is restored and the weakened area is reinforced to prevent recurrence. While the Saints are saying the tight end could see action in three weeks it's more likely he will return somewhere around Week 10 as New Orleans has a bye in Week 9.

Green Bay cornerback Al Harris is out for the season as he reportedly tore his spleen. The spleen is an important but not essential organ of the body's immune system. Its primary responsibility is to filter the body's blood, removing foreign matter and defective and old blood cells and fragments. When cut or ruptured, the spleen is often removed, and other organs in the immune system take over the spleen's various roles. In Sunday's game against the Cowboys, Harris was given several IVs after reporting feeling dehydrated and then removed from the game after he tasted blood, and blood was present in his urine. A CT scan confirmed damage to the spleen. The loss of Harris is a big blow for Green Bay's defense and a bigger blow to an already depleted secondary. Tramon Williams is expected to replace Harris in the lineup.

Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor is another impact defensive player out with a significant injury. Taylor underwent a medical procedure early Monday morning to alleviate pain in his lower leg from a condition called compartment syndrome. The lower leg is made up of four individual compartments. Each compartment is separated by fascial sheaths or bone. Fascial sheaths are structures of connective tissue that surround muscle and blood vessels. This fascia is extremely durable but also adaptable and able to expand. If a direct blow occurs to one of the lower leg compartments, excessive swelling can be confined to the compartment. (Think of a water balloon being slowly filled with water) This swelling can lead to permanent damage to the muscles and nerves contained in each compartmentalized area. Taylor was kicked in the shin in the Week 3 win over the Cardinals and experienced intense pain and swelling. He then underwent the procedure that drained the unnecessary fluid and relieved the increasing pressure. He has already been ruled out for Week 4, and his return to football activities will gradually be increased to avoid further swelling. While the Redskins defense wasn't a safe start against Dallas, Tony Romo and Terrell Owens have to be excited that Taylor will not be around.

Article first appeared 9/23/08

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 24, 2008

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Daniel Wilcox Name: Daniel Wilcox
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