Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

WESTBROOK: "IT WAS PAINFUL."

Eagles coach Andy Reid described running back Brian Westbrook's situation as day to day after the running back underwent an MRI examination on his right ankle this morning.

WESTBROOK: "IT WAS PAINFUL."

Brian Westbrook tries to leap over teammate Tra Thomas in the second quarter of the Steelers game. He injured his ankle on the play. (Ron Cortes / Inquirer).
Brian Westbrook tries to leap over teammate Tra Thomas in the second quarter of the Steelers game. He injured his ankle on the play. (Ron Cortes / Inquirer).

Eagles coach Andy Reid described running back Brian Westbrook's situation as day to day after the running back underwent an MRI examination on his right ankle this morning, but the running back admitted on his 950 ESPN radio show this evening that he is still in pain and it's more than a run-of-the-mill sprain.

Westbrook compared it to an injury suffered by teammate Brian Dawkins in the past, but he did not specify which injury. Dawkins missed the final game of last season with a foot injury, but he also had the more severe LisFranc sprain in 2003 when the safety missed nine games.

Asked if it was a high ankle sprain, Westbrook hinted that was the case.

"I know it's not a regular ankle sprain where you take a couple days off and you're fine," Westbrook said. "I think it's closer to being a high ankle sprain than anything else."

Should the Eagles sit Brian Westbrook or play him Sunday against the Bears?
Play him. They're just not the same team without him.
 
  232 (5.9%)
Sit him. It's a long season, why risk further injury?
 
  2192 (55.5%)
Wait and see how he feels later in the week.
 
  1542 (39.0%)
Total votes = 3950

The ankle injury, which occured on the first play of the second quarter, knocked Westbrook out of the Eagles' 15-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday. Reid continued to describe the injury as an ankle strain. Westbrook said his right foot got caught in the turf at Lincoln Financial Field after he lost his balance because his left foot landed on teammate Tra Thomas.

"It was painful," Westbrook said on his radio show. "I've sprained my ankle before and I've had different ankle injuries, so I knew it was something. Of course you never know exactly what it is until you get it checked out. I went ahead and got an X-ray, the X-rays were negative and I started rehabbing today. It's going to be painful. I had ligaments and tendons in there that may have been sprained."

Reid, ever the optimist when it comes to injuries, suggested that Westbrook might be able to play Sunday against the Bears in Chicago, but that sounds unlikely.


"He was on crutches yesterday and he's limping around without crutches today," the coach said at his noon news conference. "I guess that's a positive. It will be a race to get him ready for Sunday. It's not torn or damaged, but there is a strain in there, yes."

If Westbrook cannot play, Correll Buckhalter would get the start. Reid said he thought fullback Tony Hunt would be able to return against the Bears after being knocked out of Sunday's game with a concussion in the first quarter.

Reid also seemed to think that quarterback Donovan McNabb will be ready for the Bears.

"Do I think he'll be sore this week? Yeah," Reid said. "He's sore today and I think he'll get progressively better as the week goes on. He's got a contusion on his upper chest."

The coach did not have an update on tight end L.J. Smith, who left the game with a back injury.

It did not sound as if Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews was close to returning to the lineup. Reid said Andrews' lower back injury had not improved.

REPLAY IT AGAIN SAM. It’s one thing for the officials to get things wrong on the field because the players and the game move ultra fast in the NFL. But the replay official has the modern technology of super slow motion and plenty of time to get the calls right.

And still replay official Dale Hamer whiffed when he overturned a ruling by line judge Byron Boston that Tony Hunt was down by contact in the first quarter. That should never happen. Hamer’s gaffe cost the Eagles the football and probably at least three points.

The Steelers challenged the play and Hamer determined that Hunt lost the football after simultaneously taking three jarring hits from Pittsburgh players. The Steelers got the ball because Bryant McFadden recovered the fumble.

From the angle that the ball is most visible, it’s clear that Hunt is losing the ball as he goes to the ground. What’s not clear, however, is whether his left knee has already hit the ground when the ball comes loose. Watch the back angle replay, which is the final replay shown by CBS, and it’s clear that Hunt’s knee is down before the ball starts to come loose.

The most conclusive evidence on the replay is how Hunt suffered the concussion that ended his day. Defensive end Orpheus Roye had a running start before applying a helmet-to-helmet hit on the running back. If the NFL watches the replay, it might consider fining Roye. Hunt was hit so hard he almost came out of his pants as he hit the ground.

The comment by Dave 582 makes an outstanding point. Referee Walt Anderson does have the final say on the replay because he's the guy examining the replay from field level. So apologies to Dale Hamer and Dave, but Anderson still got the call wrong.

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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