Nnamdi Carted Off; Hughes Ready to Step In?

Nnamdi Asomugha was carted off the field during today's practice. (AP file photo)

A low-key Thanksgiving Day Eagles practice changed abruptly when corner Nnamdi Asomugha left the field on a cart after suffering a left knee injury, while running and cutting. After practice, the Eagles said only that Asomugha had "tweaked" the knee, pending further evaluation.

Observers said Asomugha, the Birds' $60 million free agent corner, could not put weight on his left leg as he was helped into and out of the cart.

But corner Joselio Hanson said later that he had heard the injury "wasn't as bad as it looked" and that Asomugha could be back at practice tomorrow. That would be really unusual, given the circumstances of Asomugha's exit.

Hanson said if Asomugha is sidelined, he figures he would start opposite Asante Samuel in the base defense, but the Eagles aren't likely to play much base against the Patriots this weekend, who employ various unconventional packages, often with two playmaking tight ends. In nickel, Hanson said, he figures to stay inside, with little-used Brandon Hughes outside, and third-round rookie Curtis Marsh playing a dime role.

Hughes, 25, joined the Eagles a year ago yesterday after spending time on the Giants' practice squad. He was a fifth-round Chargers draft pick in 2009.

Hanson pointed out that corner is the Birds' deepest position, with the possible exception of defensive line. The team carries six corners on the 53-man roster, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is sidelined with a high ankle sprain.

"It's an opportunity," Hughes said after practice. "Hopefully, he's all right, but if he's down, obviously I have to go in there and do what I do."

Hughes said he feels "very prepared. I've been here since preseason, been working in, just waiting for an opportunity. That's kind of the nature of the business. If he is injured, another guy has to step up, whether it's me or somebody else.

"I feel good about the gameplan, feel good about what I can do" against the NFL's second-ranked passing attack.