Eagles middle linebacker Stewart Bradley suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during last night's Flight Night! practice at Lincoln Financial Field, according to a source close to Bradley. The injury will more than likely shelve the third-year pro for the entire season.
The team reported the injury after the practice at the Linc and said Bradley would undergo an MRI examination this morning. The MRI revealed a tear in Bradley's knee.
WIP's Howard Eskin first reported the news.
Bradley appeared healthy during training camp. But he had spent much of the break in between OTAs and camp rehabbing a pulled hamstring he suffered during minicamp. He sat out a practice in June, but returned the next day and said then that he was fine. According to the source close to Bradley, the injury was much worse than he and the team let on.
With Bradley done for the season, the top two candidates to replace him are second-year linebacker Joe Mays and veteran Omar Gaither. Mays, a sixth-round selection last year out of North Dakota State, played in just two games as a rookie, but he is currently second on the depth chart at middle linebacker.
Gaither, the Eagles' starting weakside linebacker at the start of last season, was replaced as the starter by Akeem Jordan in the 11th game of last season. Jordan started the final six regular-season games and all three of the Eagles' playoff games. Gaither, a fifth-round pick in 2005, started 15 of 16 games at middle linebacker during the 2007 season.
Bradley's injury will no doubt rekindle discussions about the risks of full-contact practices during training camp. The Eagles hit more than most teams in the NFL and coach Andy Reid is a firm believer that it's necessary to prepare the players for the season.