Michael Vick was a full practice participant at Thursday's session, a sure sign that the Eagles quarterback will start Sunday against the Giants barring an unforeseen setback.
"He practiced," was all Andy Reid would say following the afternoon session. "That's what he did."
Vick, who suffered a concussion Sunday against the Falcons, was not available after practice, a team spokesman said, because he had to meet with team head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder and had to attend meetings.
But the Eagles released a statement saying, "Vick was evaluated and cleared by the independent neurosurgeon in order to return to practice today."
In Dec. 2009, the NFL announced stricter concussion guidelines in which it was suggested that a concussed player "should [emphasis added] not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptomatic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and had been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant."
Vick took all the first team snaps at practice, several players said, a day after sitting out Wednesday's session.
"He looked good, man, he looked fine," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "Very, very in control of the huddle, in control of what was going on, in control of the offense. Like I said, he's in good shape."
As for players that didn't practice, defensive ends Juqua Parker (ankle) and Darryl Tapp (pectoral) were the only Eagles to not participate.
If you're looking for positive signs on Michael Vick, here's a big one: the quarterback has his helmet on today and is participating in individual drills at the start of practice.
After going through a morning walk through Wednesday and Thursday - but watching Wednesday's full practice in a visor - his participation is a sign that he is making progress in his recovery from a concussion and is very likely to play on Sunday.
Coaches did not give a full update on what concussion procedures Vick has gone through since we spoke to them Wednesday morning, and it's still possible he could have a setback. But the fact that he's out on the field, in a helmet means he'll almost certainly play this week.
Michael Vick participated in his second straight walkthrough on Thursday, according to Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
A walkthrough practice involves little, if not any, strenuous activity. Vick is still in the process of undergoing testing for the concussion he suffered on Sunday against the Falcons. He did not practice Wednesday afternoon and his availability for Thursday afternoon's session was unknown.
Mike Kafka took the majority of first-team snaps at quarterback on Wednesday. Vince Young, who is still recovering from a hamstring strain, took the rest of the repetitions. Mornhinweg said there was a chance that Young would be 100 percent by Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
Nevertheless, if Vick can't go, Kafka is the likely starter. The Eagles have been very optimistic about Vick's recovery, however. He still has to undergo impact testing and be evaluated by an independent neurologist before he can be cleared to play Sunday.
Reid seems to be willing to start Vick -- if he's cleared -- without practicing this week. Mornhinweg said Vick was doing all the other necessary preparation off the field and in the film room.
Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said that the linebacker shuffle implemented this week could be just a one-game change, made to combat the run-heavy Giants.
On Wednesday, Jamar Chaney was moved from strong-side linebacker to middle linebacker, Casey Matthews slide over from the middle to weak-side and Moise Fokou jumped from weak-side to strong-side.
Asked whether the linebacker change was his decision Castillo said every decision is ultimately run through head coach Andy Reid.
Injured defensive ends Juqua Parker (ankle) and Darryl Tapp (pec) appeared no closer to returning to practice. Parker was seen walking through the locker room wearing an air cast. Tapp said that he's getting better, but that he still had to meet with the team's trainers before a decision was made.
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