Eagles coach Andy Reid said during his 610 WIP radio show tonight that he's "counting on" running back Brian Westbrook to be on the field for Sunday's showdown with the New York Giants, but given the medical guidelines for a concussion, that scenario seems unlikely.
Reid confirmed that Westbrook was unconscious after taking a knee to the helmet from Washington linebacker London Fletcher midway through the first quarter of last night's game at FedEx Field. He also said that Westbrook did not remember what had happened.
Those two signs, according to former Eagles and Flyers team physician Art Bartolozzi, indicate that Westbrook suffered a severe concussion. According to the American Academy of Neurology's grading system, Westbrook suffered a Grade 3 concussion, the most severe type.
Reid said Westbrook was put through a battery of neurological tests with trainer Rick Burkholder that were sent to Pittsburgh. Bartolozzi said the University of Pittsburgh has a computer-generated test that helps measure how severely someone has been impaired.
"If he was unconscious he is probably out at least a few weeks," Bartolozzi said. "Amnesia means the hard drive has been shaken. The brain is like a computer. If you lose data, it tells you something is wrong with the computer."
Bartolozzi said it's also difficult for players to retain their fitness level after they have a concussion.
"One of the things that happens with a head injury is that unlike other parts of the body, exercise does not help the recovery," Bartolozzi said. "It's tough to maintain the fitness because the brain doesn't like a lot of conditioning exercises."
If Westbrook does not play, rookie LeSean McCoy will get the start against the Giants.
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson will be named the NFC offensive player of the week tomorrow after scoring on a 67-yard run and a 57-yard pass during Monday night's win at Washington.
He was the NFC special teams player of the month for September.
Reid said that Jackson's strain foot should not prevent him from playing Sunday against the Giants.