Eagles playing through pain

January 15, 2009 8:59:11 PM PST
The Philadelphia Eagles have surpassed expectations but getting this far in the playoffs has come with some bumps and bruises. Their spirits are high, but their bodies may feel a bit beat up. A quick look at the team's injuries throughout the season show Brian Westbrook battling a knee problem; same with Jon Runyan. For Asante Samuel, it was his hip. And the list for other players includes foot strains, torn hamstrings, shoulder contusions, sports hernias.... and the list goes on.

Dr. Ira Sachs, an associate professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine doesn't treat the players, but as a sports medicine doctor said all these aches and pains are just part of the game.

"I want the Eagles fans to rest assured that the other team they're playing is experiencing the same sort of injuries," Dr. Sachs said.

It's the team's athletic trainer and doctors' job to manage injuries. Dr. Sachs said doing so is just as much part of the game as coaches calling plays and players performing. "That contribution cannot be underestimated," he said, adding, "In the case of Westbrook for example, you'll read where from week to week he's not actually practicing."

He said trainers will rest players, and treat what they can such as trying to reduce the swelling in Westbrook's knee, so come Sunday, players can be back on the field.

Westbrook said at a press conference Wednesday said,"Just being able to get my legs and my knees, my ankles a little bit of rest. I think it continues to help me recover a little bit better, a little bit more every single week." Coach Andy Reid said, "Everyone that is still playing has a sore body...But the mind takes over, and they're all very excited to be in this position."

Quarterback Donovan McNabb has been in the league for ten years. Over his career, he has his own list of injuries. Two ended his season early- sports hernia in 2005 and then an ACL tear in 2006.

Dr. Sachs said typically after an ACL tear is repaired, patients have to wait at least nine months before getting back into sports. But it takes 24 months for a full recovery. "For those Eagles fans when they were observing McNabb last year they could see he was back but he wasn't 100-percent. I think this year, it looks to me he has his feet fully under him and he's fully recovered from the ACL," Dr. Sachs said.

McNabb also trains in the off-season and invites other players to do the same at his home in Arizona. Dr. Sachs said this gives players more time to get in shape and can be especially helpful for players with prior injuries or who are getting older...but don't tell McNabb he's getting older.

"32 years old is not really old, that's almost at the prime of your career. Some of you guys sitting here wish you were 32. I'll tell you about it. It's fun," he told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.