Eagles Running Back is Out

The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that running back Brian Westbrook will be lost for the rest of the season due to surgery on his elbow. The announcement changes the complexion of this weekend's divisional playoff game. Todd has the details...

he Green Bay Packers will only have to deal with a two-headed monster instead of three when they play the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday in the NFC Divisional playoffs. The Eagles today announced that running back Brian Westbrook will undergo season-ending elbow surgery tomorrow in Birmingham, Ala.

With the possible exception of quarterback Donovan McNabb, Westbrook was the club's offensive MVP this season. He scored 13 touchdowns – seven rushing, four receiving and two on punt returns. And he was the most dangerous head of the club's three-headed running back, which included Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter and Duce Staley.

The surgery, which will be performed by Dr. James Andrews, will repair the left tricep tendon which was injured during the regular season finale at Washington on Dec. 27. He's expected to make a full recovery for next season.

"I feel bad for Brian. He's worked so hard all season to have a chance to play in the playoffs," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "We are very lucky to have a group of good running backs and returners that will do a nice job."

Westbrook, Buckhalter and Staley have combined for 2,465 rushing and receiving yards this season. If they were one person, that total would be better than any running back in the league. Their play, combined with the red-hot hand of McNabb, is the main reason the Eagles owned one of the league's hottest offenses in the second half of the season. The Eagles scored 25 of more points in their final six games, which was a franchise record.

"Our 'lethal weapon' is definitely going to be missed," Staley said of Westbrook. "But once again, injuries are definitely a part of this game. It definitely hurts us during the playoff run, but hey, we've still got two good backs here. Correll and I will definitely step it up, do our best to fill his shoes."

Westbrook gave the offense a speed element that neither Buckhalter nor Staley can provide. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry, with much of his running success coming out of spread formations. He also was a major element of the passing game with Reid often lining him up outside and taking advantage of coverage mismatches against linebackers and safeties.

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