BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- DeSean Jackson and Stewart Bradley are listed as day-to-day, the Eagles said Sunday. Both players sat out the morning practice.
The team called Jackson's injury a back strain and said Bradley had a hamstring spasm in his right leg. That's the same side where Bradley tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year. He missed time during June practices with a hamstring tweak, but that was on his left side.
It's early, but Bradley's absence on just the second day of training camp for veterans highlights a key concern at middle linebacker, where the team is counting on Bradley to regain his form just a year removed from a significant injury. If he can't go, it's up to Omar Gaither to fill in, but he, too, missed most of 2009 with an injury.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said he hopes to have Bradley back soon, but provided little detail. The team has made clear that they are counting on Bradley to be a vocal and physical leader on the field.
With Bradley out, Gaither played with the first team Sunday morning and said he is feeling good about his recovery and ability to play after suffering a Lisfranc sprain last year.
"I haven’t played in so long so this is fun for me. You don’t realize how much you miss it until you can play," Gaither said.
With both Bradley and Gaither returning from injury, the Eagles' only addition at middle linebacker was Jamar Chaney, drafted in the seventh round.
Bradley went through Saturday's morning session without injury. But at one point in the afternoon session, he was replaced by Gaither. It looked to be just precautionary move. Shortly thereafter, Jackson went down.
The Eagles are obviously being cautious with their star receiver/punt returner. Even if he felt up to it, the team would not let him practice a day after such an injury.
The injury is believed to be concentrated at his lower back. Jackson got hurt without contact when he twisted his body to make a grab. He fell to the ground and stayed there for several minutes.
Jordan works with first team defense
Akeem Jordan lined up with the first team defense at strong side linebacker, bumping Moise Fokou down to the second unit, though the competition at the position is just beginning.
McDermott praised Jordan, particularly noting his experience. He is entering his fourth year in the NFL. McDermott noted that Fokou is young, entering just his second season, but said the change up was not a reflection on him.
"It really goes with the territory. If you’ve been around sports long enough, this happens all the time. At the same time, it’s a challenge for Moise, or the player in question, to rise up and respond to the challenge," McDermott said.
Both players said they were taking the changes in stride, and just want to fight for a job.
"We're going to see what happens at the end of camp," Fokou said.
Practice observations from Sunday morning
The play of the morning came from a group effort by the first team defense, which stuffed the second team offense on a 4th and 1 run. A swarm of defenders got in on the play, with Omar Gaither and Quintin Mikell appearing to get in on Mike Bell. The defense left the field slapping each other on the shoulder pads. McDermott was particularly proud because the defense had not even worked on short yardage situations yet this camp.
"That's gut check time . . . I was proud of how the players responded," McDermott said.
Bell had a strong morning running otherwise, showing power and blowing up Trent Cole one play in pass protection.
The offensive highlight came on a short Kevin Kolb pass to LeSean McCoy that turned into a score. The second team defense blitzed on the play (though, of course, the rushers aren't allowed to get too close to Kolb), and McCoy was all alone when he caught the ball around the 25 yard line. He sped untouched to the end zone.
Eldra Buckley had a few nice runs against the third team defense, slipping tackles on his way to big gains.
Mike Vick had a long run, showing his well-known speed, on what looked like a designed run sold by a fake hand-off. It looked like he might have been able to go for a long touchdown, though it's hard to say for sure because defenders aren't allowed to get to close to quarterbacks and have to play carefully.
Trevor Laws made two strong plays inside to stuff runs.
New running back J.J. Arrington is here and wearing No. 33, though the team didn't even have time to put his name on his jersey. Fortunately, his initials are tattooed on his triceps (one J on each arm).
Linebacker Tracy White is back with the team after the Eagles signed him to a one-year contract Saturday.
The Eagles re-signed running back Martell Mallet, released Saturday night, and waived fullback Dwayne Wright.
Stay tuned for more from Eagles training camp later today and in Monday's Inquirer.