Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox declined comment Wednesday in the Eagles’ locker room, after missing practice with a calf injury he suffered in Sunday’s victory over the Giants. Cox was wearing a pressure sleeve on his right leg.
The buzz among teammates, though, was that the Eagles’ highest-paid, most-dominant player will miss two or three weeks. That’s roughly consistent with the word from another source close to the situation, who called Cox “week-to-week,” and said: “He’ll miss some time.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday that Cox was “day to day.”
There was good Eagles injury news, though — middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and safety Rodney McLeod returned to practice and should be available Sunday against the Chargers in Los Angeles. Hicks suffered an ankle injury against the Giants, and McLeod missed that game after injuring a hamstring at Kansas City.
In the NFL, calf injuries occur more often for defensive players, for some reason, and require “at least 2 weeks of missed playing time on average,” according to a study published in January in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.
Cox, 26, has made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. He scored a touchdown in the Eagles’ season opener at Washington, scooping up a Kirk Cousins fumble created by Brandon Graham and rumbling 20 yards to seal the victory.
Cox, signed for six years and $102.6 million last year, has missed only one game, in his rookie season of 2012, since joining the Eagles as a first-round draft pick, 12th overall, from Mississippi State. Fourth-year tackle Beau Allen probably will take his place in the starting lineup Sunday, and sixth-round rookie Elijah Qualls might get more snaps than usual. Graham might also line up inside at times.
The Eagles have a practice squad defensive tackle, Justin Hamilton, but they would need to cut someone or put someone on injured reserve to elevate him to the roster. There is another defensive tackle, Destiny Vaeao, who suffered a wrist injury in the opener at Washington and hasn’t played or practiced since. Vaeao is unlikely to play Sunday.
After this weekend, the Eagles host the Arizona Cardinals, then have just four days before they play their Thursday night game at the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 12. If Cox isn’t ready to play against the Cardinals, there might not be enough time for him to make significant progress before the Carolina game. The Eagles will then have 11 days between Carolina and their Monday night game against Washington at home.