Westbrook still limping, race to get him ready

Brian Westbrook tries to leap over teammate Tra Thomas but landed on him and was injured during the second quarter Sunday. (Ron Cortes / Inquirer)

Brian Westbrook was limping around the Eagles practice facility Monday morning, but without the crutches that he used to exit the Linc on Sunday night following the ankle strain he suffered in the win over the Steelers, Eagles coach Andy Reid said.

Westbrook was injured early in the second quarter when he fell awkwardly over offensive tackle Tra Thomas.

It will be "a race to get him ready for Sunday," Reid said at his day-after news conference.

"We'll see how he does. It is literally a day-to-day situation," Reid added.


Should the Eagles sit Brian Westbrook or play him Sunday against the Bears?

Reid said an MRI exam this morning revealed a strain but nothing torn or damanged in the ankle.

"I think we can manage it," Reid said.

Westbrook will likely spend a lot of time in the training room this week in an effort to be ready for the game at Chicago on Sunday night. If he cannot play, Correll Buckhalter would be the starter.

Reid said he expected fullback Tony Hunt, who suffered a concussion, to be ready. Reid said that means the Eagles are not looking to make a roster move. (Reno Mahe fans are inconsolable. Film at 11.)

Quarterback Donovan McNabb also had an MRI that revealed a contusion on his upper chest. Reid indicated he thinks McNabb will be less sore as the week continues, and will play in Chicago.

Wide receiver Kevin Curtis (sports hernia surgery) will get a "little work this week," Reid said, as Curtis attempts to recover from a sports hernia. He will work on the scout team initially. "We'll see how he feels after that."

Guard Shawn Andrews remains sidelined with back spasms. Reid said Andrews' condition will be a "day-to-day situation." But Reid acknowledged that Andrews doesn't feel much better than he felt when he was injured last Monday night at Dallas, so Max Jean-Gilles could be looking at a second successive start this week.

Reid did not have a report on tight end L.J. Smith's back injury. He said Smith was "in the process of getting it checked."


As Eagles fans everywhere await word on the status of Brian Westbrook's injury ankle, the one statistic that stands out is this: 3-4.

That is the Eagles' record since in games that Westbrook has not played because of injury since he became the starter in 2004. His replacements have included Dorsey Levens, Ryan Moats, Bruce Perry and Correll Buckhalter.

The good news is that Buckhalter had the most successful turn as a replacement with 103 yards on 17 carries in a loss to the Giants last September. That game, of course, will be remembered less for anything that happened in the running game and more for the nearly dozen sacks that Donovan McNabb endured (Winston Justice, anyone?).

That things get much tougher should Westbrook be out for an extended period goes without saying. Week after week, you hear opposing players talk about Westbrook as the most important player on the Eagles offense. No matter how much depth you try to build when assembling your team, an injury to a star player is often the difference between success and failure.

So, Westbrook waits, the Eagles wait and so do all Eagles fans ...