Unhealthy Eagles Team Awaits Dallas

You remember the old Monty Python "bring out yer dead" bit? Well, the Eagles aren't quite at that point, but they're certainly not a healthy bunch as the Cowboys come to town for an unfriendly visit this Sunday.

Brian Westbrook's absence from Monday night's 31-9 win over the Green Bay Packers is cause for concern.

Westbrook has been nursing a sore knee since the first week of the season. He has hardly practiced, but played in each of the Eagles' first three games and played exceptionally, amassing 420 rushing and receiving yards and five touchdowns.

He indicated after the Eagles' win over San Francisco - when he had a season-low 12 touches - that the swelling in the knee was starting to subside. The fifth-year running back was listed as questionable all week, but took part in some of practice on Thursday and Friday, only to be scratched just before game time Monday night.

Asked about Westbrook's status for Sunday's important game against Dallas, coach Andy Reid said, "We'll see how it goes. Will he be ready for this week? He had that swelling in there and it never really came out. It settled down a little last night but not enough to where we could put him out there."

If Westbrook can't play against the Cowboys, the Eagles are in trouble. Next to quarterback Donovan McNabb, he is their most indispensable offensive weapon.

Correll Buckhalter rushed for 49 yards against the Packers and had another 39 on two receptions. But he also fumbled twice and doesn't have the explosion or the line-him-up-anywhere-in-the-formation versatility that Westbrook has.

It remains to be seen whether the Eagles have much confidence left in Buckhalter after his Monday night performance.

As for Westbrook, Andy Reid is confident and doesn't fear the worst. "When you have the bone bruises there is always the chance that there is something going on with the cartilage and that's why we have been holding him out. But we think he is going to be alright this week," explained Reid.

And then, there's the rest of the injured.

"[WR] Donte Stallworth has a hamstring strain, [aggravated in Monday night's game] he did have the MRI. We'll just see how he does here, day-to-day. [CB] Rod Hood has the heel strain. He is getting better but he is not there yet," said Reid about his key injured players.

Neither Westbrook, Stallworth or Hood practiced on Wednesday. WR Reggie Brown left Monday's game with a shoulder injury. Brown was held out of practice Wednesday as well, but the Birds believe he could play Sunday, which would be important, especially if Stallworth can't go.

There is some good news. Lito Sheppard was back at practice and it looks like he'll be a go, giving the secondary a much needed boost. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson obviously wants to get Sheppard back, but he thinks the patched together secondary is coming together. "It was nice for those guys' confidence levels. [CB Joselio] Hanson, he got a chance to show he could play in the NFL. [CB] Dexter [Wynn] did quite a good job. We helped them quite a bit, too. But, overall I was pleased," said Johnson of the effort from the secondary Monday night.

Other News From The 'Nest

  • WR Greg Lewis stepped up with Reggie Brown and Donte Stallworth ailing to catch consecutive touchdown passes against Green Bay. "Greg has always been a guy who you can get the ball to and he can make a play for us," QB Donovan McNabb said. "You know that Greg is going to do that for you. But Greg has taken on the leadership role because he is pretty much the oldest guy at that position, he and Donte. He has that experience."

    "Knowing where to sit in zones, when it's man, and where I'm going to place the ball for him. He did an excellent job of getting separation on that go ball. I just tried to put it up there so he could compete for it. It looked good from the outside, but he did a great job. It was all Greg Lewis. It was good to see that he had a great game," exclaimed McNabb.

  • The Eagles, who went into the Green Bay game with a league-high 16 sacks, didn't get to Brett Favre once. Favre took short drops and got the ball out quickly to counter the Eagles' pass-rush and Jim Johnson's blitzes. "He knew going into the game that we were leading the league in sacks," middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. "He's got a young offensive line. So he was trying to get rid of the ball quick. That's how he plays. He doesn't like to hold on to the rock."
  • For the third consecutive game, Donovan McNabb didn't throw an interception. He hasn't put three interception-less games together since the first three weeks of the 2004 season. McNabb has a streak of 138 pass attempts without an interception. He has lowered his career interception percentage to 2.17, second only in NFL history to Neil O'Donnell (2.11).
  • The Eagles made a roster move Wednesday, releasing CB Dustin Fox and promoting LB Dedrick Roper from the practice squad.
  • Cowboys cornerback Aaron Glenn found a sure sign of just how big the Eagles/Cowboys matchup is. "Kelly and Regis are talking about it - that tells you something right there."

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