The Eagles have had good and bad news on the injury front so far at Lehigh. The bad news is that there have been a number of players sidelined by injuries. The good news is that most of the injuries aren't too severe.
Of the two injuries causing the most concern are Todd Pinkston and his strained achilles tendon and Darwin Walker, who suffered a mild fracture in his rib cage. Pinkston hasn't been able to practice much since the Eagles hit Lehigh a little over two weeks ago. Initially, they thought he would be back by now, but the swelling and pain that he's experiencing is keeping him on the sideline. As for Walker, he suffered a "slight fracture in one of his ribs," according to Andy Reid. The injury happened on Tuesday and there is no timetable on when Walker will return to action, but some fear that it could be a few weeks.
Brian Westbrook has a strained left foot and the Eagles don't know exactly when he'll return to the lineup. On the bright side, the swelling is going down every day and there are hopes that he could be back practicing with the team before too long.
With all of the injuries to the backfield, there will be some unfamiliar faces carrying the ball. Buckhalter, Moats, Perry and Westbrook were the top four backs on the depth chart and all are out, at least for Thursday. Reno Mahe, who is familiar with the offense, should see a good chunk of time in the backfield, but the Eagles will also get a look at some of the other players who are further down on the depth chart. Reid doesn't plan on changing his commitment to running the ball because of the injuries. Instead, he'll continue to work on establishing a ground game and views the situation as an opportunity for the younger players to show what they can do.
Most of the starters will play at least a quarter on Thursday night and possibly a little more. One definite exception is Donovan McNabb, who is coming off an injury plagued season. The Eagles also want backup Jeff Garcia to have some time with the first team and will likely pull McNabb early in the game to give Garcia that time.
The most anticipated part of the night will come when first round pick Brodrick Bunkley steps onto the field. Bunkley, who ended his holdout late last week, will see some action according to Reid, but likely not too much. Reid wouldn't elaborate or say which team Bunkley would likely play with, but he figures to play with the third team, with Ed Jasper and Sam Rayburn playing ahead of Bunkley.
The walking wounded:RB Correll Buckhalter
RB Ryan Moats
RB Bruce Perry
RB Brian Westbrook
WR Todd Pinkston
DT Darwin Walker
The beneficiaries:RB Jason Davis
RB Marty Johnson
RB Reno Mahe
RB Thomas Tapeh