Michael Vick isn't out of the woods just yet.
While an x-ray of his ribs following Monday night's preseason game against the Patriots came back negative, the Eagles quarterback will undergo an MRI and a CT scan this morning to see if there is damage other than a fracture.
"He got a good shot there," coach Andy Reid said of the hit that New England linebacker Jermaine Cunningham delivered to Vick's mid-section. "The precautionary measure is to see if it’s involving cartilage there.”
Vick has been down this road before. On Oct. 3, 2010, he left a game against the Redskins when he took a blow to his rib area. He had an x-ray but the team did not release the results after the game. Reid said then that he had a "sore chest." A day later, an MRI revealed that Vick had injured the cartilage that connected his second and third ribs to his sternum, according to the Eagles.
Reid said that Vick had fractured his cartilage. Vick admitted this past spring that he fractured his ribs. Whatever the injury, he did not play again until Nov. 7. He originally said that he would miss probably only two weeks. But he sat out the next three games. A bye week followed so Vick may have returned earlier, but he did not play until the Colts game -- 35 days after the injury against the Redskins.
The Eagles open the regular season in 19 days on Sept. 9 at Cleveland. They have two preseason games remaining -- at the Browns on Friday and at home against the New York Jets on Aug. 30. Reid did not rule out Vick for Friday's game, but it is unlikely he will play in either contest even if his injury isn't serious.
Quarterback Mike Kafka won't play with a fractured hand, so rookie Nick Foles and Trent Edwards will likely split the Browns game. Foles performed well in relief of Vick against the Patriots. He could have the backup quarterback spot locked up.
Vick and the Eagles returned to Philadelphia from Foxboro, Mass. early this morning. A source close to the quarterback said he spoke to the quarterback when he arrived and that he sounded optimistic that his injury wasn't serious, for whatever that is worth.
Still, Vick can't seem to avoid injury. In the preseason opener he bruised him thumb when his hand hit the back of center Jason Kelce's helmet. Last year, he suffered a concussion at Atlanta, bruised his hand the following week against the New York Giants and broke two ribs in November against the Cardinals. He sat out the next three games.
The Eagles have tried to stress to Vick that he needs to do a better job of protecting himself. While the 2010 injury occurred when he was scrambling, Vick's last five injuries have occurred in or around the pocket.
Guard Evan Mathis took the blame for Monday night's injury. He was beat inside and Vick had to spin away from a defender and into the arms of Cunningham.
“Completely my fault,” Mathis said. “It’s something that can’t happen. Something we’ve got to work out. Fortunately, Michael is not too seriously injured, but it’s very concerning. It’s our job to keep him safe. To keep him off the turf. When the quarterback takes a hit and is laying on the ground, you feel it.”
Could Vick have done a better job of avoiding the hit? Should he have thrown the ball away when he saw that Mathis was beat? Reid said that Vick didn't hold onto the ball too long or make the wrong decision.
Whether it's Vick's fault, the line's fault, Reid or offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's fault for trying to turn Vick into a pocket passer or all of the above, it is unclear. One thing is clear: Vick has been getting hurt way too often.