Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis will have sports hernia surgery, coach Andy Reid said today.
The full extent of the injury will not be clear until the surgery is performed, so no timetable was given for a possible return, but expect it to be a while, given the history of the injury. A reasonable timeframe probably would be six to eight weeks from the surgery, which Curtis told the Daily News will take place Thursday morning. The regular season starts Sept. 7. There is little chance the Eagles' leading 2007 receiver (77 catches, 1,110 yards) will be full-strength before October, at best.
Curtis becomes the third Eagles player to suffer a sports hernia in the last few years. Donovan McNabb had surgery during the 2005 season after trying to play through the injury. L.J. Smith had offseason surgery in the spring of 2007 but the injury lingered, especially after he suffered another injury to the area during training camp. Smith cautioned yesterday that Curtis should not try to come back too soon. Previously, cornerback Sheldon Brown played the 2003 season with the injury, something Brown said yesterday he would not do again.
Curtis was injured against Carolina in last Thursday's preseason game. He tried to practice this week but was unable to run hard because of the pain, leading to the decision to have the surgery.
Reid said he is not interested in bringing in another receiver at this time, though the Falcons have released 36-year-old Joe Horn. Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin has asked to be traded, but Arizona has said it will not trade him.
With Reggie Brown still out with a hamstring injury, suffered on the first play against Carolina, the starting receivers Friday at New England will be rookie DeSean Jackson in Brown's spot and either Hank Baskett or Greg Lewis in Curtis' spot.
Curtis, coming off the most productive season of his career, signed as a free agent from the St. Louis Rams before last season.
"It won't be a threat to what we do," Reid said. "Other guys will have to step up for the time he's out."
Reid said he feels Brown will be ready for the start of the regular season. Brown agreed that was likely.
Baskett has had a strong training camp, as has the rookie, Jackson. The words of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and McNabb earlier this week, cautioning against overhyping Jackson, now seem academic. Jackson, the team's leading receiver in the preseason, seems assured of a fairly prominent role to start the regular season, if that weren't assured already.
Baskett said that one of the good things about the Eagles' West Coast-spread the ball philosophy is that "you don't have all your eggs in one basket," no pun intended. He said other receivers will step up to fill the void.
"We all have different things we're good at," Baskett said. "Kevin goes down, I have to step up and fill his shoes."
Smith said he would tell Curtis that after the surgery, he will feel like he can do more than he really can safely do, that he needs to take it very slowly to avoid reinjury.