Up next: First look at Philadelphia

Injuries already are starting to take a toll on the Eagles' defense. They lost two key starters in Sunday's 30-24 overtime loss to the New York Giants.

Defensive end Jevon Kearse suffered a serious injury to his left knee in the overtime period when he collided with linemate Mike Patterson as the two were converging on Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Kearse, who had 3.5 sacks in the Eagles' first two games, including 2.5 against the Giants, had to be helped off the field.

Kearse will miss the rest of the season after a MRI exam revealed extensive damage that included sprains of multiple ligaments, including the medial collateral ligament, the lateral collateral ligament, and the posterior cruciate ligament.

Also, the Eagles lost their second cornerback in as many weeks when Rod Hood suffered what coach Andy Reid vaguely called a heel contusion. Hood had replaced Lito Sheppard, who injured his ankle in Week 1.

If Hood can't play this week against San Francisco, which seems likely, Joselio Hanson, an NFL Europe player who made the team as a free agent this summer, will start. Hanson played for the 49ers in 2004 before being released at the final roster cutdown last year.

Dexter Wynn, who was signed after Sheppard got hurt, would become the Eagles' third corner.

"I've just got to go out there and work hard, keep pushing and play one play at a time," said Hanson. "That's what I did and that's what I need to do."

Said strong safety Michael Lewis: "I have confidence in him. If he's the starting corner, he'll get the job done. All you can do is go out there and practice and play. If you get an opportunity, you've got to step up."

Both Hanson and Wynn and the rest of the Eagles' defense struggled in the second half Sunday when the Giants managed to erase a 24-7 deficit and pull out a six-point win. The 5-9 Hanson had to cover 6-5 Giants wideout Plaxico Burress a lot. Burress ended up with six catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Wynn gave up a fourth-quarter touchdown to Amani Toomer, who had 12 grabs for 137 yards against the Eagles.

The Eagles should be able to withstand the loss of Kearse a little easier. They are deep on the defensive line. Before Kearse got hurt, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson was rotating two separate lines in and out of the game. Jerome McDougle, the '03 No. 1 pick who was inactive for the first two games, likely will be activated Sunday as the team's fourth defensive end.

"Jevon has been in this league for a long time," said Patterson. "A lot of guys look up to him. If he's not out there, me and the other guys just need to step up."

GAME REPLAY

The Eagles rolled to a 24-7 lead, and then watched it disappear in the second half as they lost to the Giants in overtime.

After holding the Giants to 6 first downs and 87 net yards in the first half, the defense gave up 18 first downs and 317 yards in the second half and blew a golden opportunity to open the season at 2-0.

After putting the Eagles ahead by 17 with a 23-yard touchdown throw to Reggie Brown early in the third quarter, Donovan McNabb completed just 7 of 12 passes for 64 yards the rest of the game.

PLAYER NOTES
--- DE Jevon Kearse will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a serious knee injury late in Sunday's loss to the Giants.
--- CB Rod Hood left the game in the second quarter with what the Eagles are calling a heel contusion.
--- CB Lito Sheppard, who injured his ankle in Week 1, didn't play Sunday and is expected to be sidelined at least another three weeks.
--- CB Joselio Hanson is expected to get his first start as an Eagle Sunday against San Francisco. He'll replace injured CB Rod Hood, who had replaced injured CB Lito Sheppard.
--- RB Brian Westbrook, who missed two days of practice with knee inflammation last week, had 26 touches in Sunday's loss to the Giants. That's the second most touches of his career.


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