Eagles defensive end Chris Clemons returned to practice Thursday morning, two days after having to be hospitalized because of heat-related problems. But even with free-agent signee Clemons back, the Birds were missing six d-linemen -- Victor Abiamiri (wrist) and Bryan Smith (hamstring) are hurt, and Montae Reagor, Juqua Parker, Darren Howard, and Kimo von Oelhoffen were due to take the morning off as part of Reid's 30-plus club, which this year gets a morning workout respite after two days in a row of two-a-days (Von Oelhoffen also has right knee inflammation, so he was doubly unavailable.).
"It allowed those defensive ends that were here to work their way through the practice and play fast," Reid said. "All in all, it was a good practice, lot of good teaching. We were able to install the red zone today, got some great work on that during the 7-on-7 period."
The "30-plus" situation wouldn't have such an impact if the NFL hadn't ended the six NFL Europe roster exemptions, which in recent years have allowed the Birds to carry 86 men on their 80-man roster in the preseason.
"Normally, we're stockpiled on the defensive line," Reid said."If you have to make a little adjustment like we did this morning, no big deal, we've still got a lot of time."
Abiamiri, who underwent wrist surgery Tuesday, won't know until the end of camp whether he is close enough to returning to stay on the active roster, or will go on IR and lose the year. He walked past reporters briskly yesterday, wearing a removable cast on his right arm. "Feeling good, feeling good," Abiamiri said, when asked how he was doing
And, by the way, agent Rich Moran said there was nothing new to report about Shawn Andrews' absence from camp.
Crunch time might be a misnomer, given that the players were in "shells" and there was no hitting Thursday morning. But we have some passing drill highlights for you:
*The previous morning Donovan McNabb took off, Kevin Kolb looked really sharp, but that was less true Thursday. In red zone drills, Kolb seemed to be overthrowing receivers, notably missing an open Brent Celek in the back of the end zone and heaving one way past Hank Baskett at the sideline.
*Kolb had a nice, crisp hookup with DeSean Jackson on a comeback route.
*Lorenzo Booker reached down and behind him to pluck a wayward A.J. Feeley screen, gaining the crowd's appreciation.
*Earlier, Booker dazzled rookie safety Quintin Demps after making a catch, but Demps had a pick and a "sack" in the same sequence. Reid noted that Demps has shown the same nose for the ball that led the Eagles to draft him.
.*Lito Sheppard dropped an easy interception.
*Kolb found Baskett at the back of the end zone, but corner Joselio Hanson broke up the catch.