Eagles All-Pro guard Shawn Andrews had back disc surgery Tuesday in Southern California and will be out at least 6 weeks, team head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said Wednesday. The Eagles have 10 games remaining.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins, who also operated on fellow Eagles offensive lineman Tra Thomas in 2005. Burkholder said the Andrews and Thomas injuries were "similar but not identical."
Burkholder said Andrews suffered a disc herniation in high school in Arkansas, which didn't bother him after he took a pain-blocking injection. Burkholder said Andrews played through college and his early pro career with the problem, but aggravated it when double-teamed on an extra point against Dallas in Week 2.
Burkholder said Andrews took a couple of injections in late September but found only brief relief. The Eagles had sent Andrews to a number of specialists; Watkins was the fourth opinion on the injury.
Burkholder said recovery time from having the herniated portion of the disc removed can range from 6 weeks to 3 months; the Eagles have not placed Andrews on IR. Head coach Andy Reid said they want to get a read on how Andrews progresses in the next several weeks.
Max Jean-Gilles will remain in the lineup in Andrews' absence."Max has done a very good job," said Reid, who said Jean-Gilles has improved each week.
Obviously, had Andrews undergone surgery right after being injured, he would be a month into his recovery by now. But surgery is rarely a first resort, and the fact that Andrews played pain-free several years after having the site injected gave reasonable hope that surgery could be avoided.
The Eagles returned to their normal game-week routine today to get ready for Sunday's game against Atlanta.