Dec 13, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT
Yeah, yeah, we’re jinxing them. Now that we got that out of the way, you really have to marvel at how bare the Philadelphia Eagles injury report is for this time of year.
As the Birds prepare for Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, just four players make the report. Starting safety Earl Wolff (knee) and special teamer Najee Goode (hamstring) are listed as doubtful, although both are getting closer to playing and have an outside shot at suiting in the upcoming game. Cornerbacks Brandon Boykin (hip) and Cary Williams (hamstring) are both probable.
That’s it. That’s the entire report.
Weird. That’s actually longer than usual.
Other than a few dings here and there, the Eagles have been extremely fortunate when it comes to avoiding injuries this season. All five players on injured reserve landed there in training camp. The only starters on the 53-man roster to miss games this season are Nick Foles, Mychal Kendricks, Bradley Fletcher, and Wolff.
There’s no denying that health has been a big factor in the Eagles’ success this season. While the Birds have suffered relatively few injuries themselves, they’ve run into some opponents who were without star players. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers going down for Green Bay comes to mind, as does running back Reggie Bush for the Detroit Lions this past Sunday. This week, it’s possible if not likely the Vikings will be without reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Adrian Peterson.
What’s the Eagles’ secret? Some might say it’s the sports science program Chip Kelly brought to the organization, and there’s probably something to that to a degree. These players to a man will probably all say they’re in the best shape of their lives, although that doesn’t necessarily help one avoid injuries.
Chip agrees, to an extent. A few months back, reporters asked the head coach what the science has been behind keeping players on the field, and while he admitted it helps, Kelly acknowledged some things you just can’t avoid. Via PFT:
“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Kelly said, via ESPN.com, “but I think part of what our sports science aspect of things is, is to make sure that time lost is the biggest thing you’re trying to prevent. Just the little things: are we getting enough sleep, eating the right way, doing the other things. That contributes to it.”
“We don’t do that just for the sake of doing it,” Kelly said. “We do that because we think there’s a benefit to it. Obviously, the big issues you look at are the soft tissue injures, because those are preventable. If someone breaks a leg, someone breaks a leg. There’s not much from a sports science standpoint or preparation standpoint that goes into the prevention of breaking a bone.”
Of course, while the Eagles have been fortunate throughout the season, they did lose a key cog in Jeremy Maclin to a torn ACL back in camp. Imagine what the league’s third-ranked offense would look like had that not happened.
The Eagles have been able to avoid any more major injuries since then though, and now have very few at all during the most important stretch of the season. It’s helped propel them to an 8-5 record and likely playoff team.
Now say a prayer, keep your fingers crossed, and don’t drive your car too close to the sidewalk near the NovaCare Complex. Hey, what’s the ladder doing in front of the entrance?
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