There’s no question about the frustrations surrounding the Eagles medical staff and the number of injuries being suffered. Those troubles may be highlighted best by the never-ending injury situation with DeSean Jackson.
The Eagles made the unprecedented move this summer of moving on to their third medical staff in as many years. Each year, there was a legitimate reason to do so — in 2017, the Eagles lost Carson Wentz, Darren Sproles, and Jason Peters well before the playoffs, and in 2018, the Eagles witnessed more than half of their starters miss at least one game due to injury. However, each time the staff has been changed, the dynamic has stayed the same. Players are still suffering injuries at an alarming rate.
This season, the Eagles lost Cre’Von LeBlanc and Kamu Grugier-Hill, two players set to have increased roles on defense, for multiple weeks before the season could even start. Malik Jackson, the team’s key free-agent acquisition, was lost for the year during the first game of the season, while Tim Jernigan was lost for at least a month due to a foot injury, depleting the defensive line. Meanwhile, Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones, who was originally expected to be the starting cornerback’s in 2019, have battled with hamstring injuries over the last few weeks.
However, the injuries that were most precarious were the ones Alshon Jeffery and Jackson suffered. Both got injured in pregame warmups against the Atlanta Falcons in week two, and neither was able to get on the field for that game. The Eagles lost that game, and it was with their two best wide receiver’s inexplicably on the sideline.
What makes the situation even more precarious is what Doug Pederson said following the game. Pederson believed that if it were the playoffs, both Jeffery and Jackson would have been able to play through their injuries and produce like they normally would.
Not only did those injuries force Jeffery and Jackson to miss the Falcons game, but they were also out the following week against the Detroit Lions, despite the optimism Pederson had from the intel given by the medical staff. Jeffery went on to return in week 4, but for Jackson, his situation is hitting the Eagles much harder.
Jackson was originally deemed questionable to return to the Falcons game with a groin injury but was eventually ruled out. However, the first major red flag regarding his injury was what his injury was labeled as in the team’s injury report in practice the next week — the Eagles said Jackson had an abdomen injury, not a groin injury.
Maybe it was a simple misclassification, or maybe it was a misdiagnosis, but anytime there’s some grey area about an injury being a groin or abdominal injury, it’s almost like a sports hernia issue. Regardless, Jackson was reportedly expected to miss only two weeks.
The Lions game came and went and Jackson, unsurprisingly, was out. The offense struggled to get any consistency going, and that was in large part due to Jackson’s absence. Due to the quick turnaround, Jackson was unable to go against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football — once again, not much of a surprise.
The recent developments that occurred after this is where the concern really starts to set in. The original hope after the Eagles’ clutch victory against the Packers was Jackson had an outside chance of playing against the Jets, but the smart decision would be opting to hold him out until the Vikings game.
Fast-forward to now, just a few days before the Eagles fly to Minnesota to kick off a three-game road trip, and not only is Jackson expected to be out against the Vikings, but there’s no guarantee he plays against the Cowboys either.
The Cowboys game is the one that has to be highlighted — not because of the opponent itself, but the place it falls on the timeline.
After the Falcons game, surgery was indeed on the table for Jackson, but both Jackson and the Eagles opted against surgery in an effort to get him on the field sooner. The surgery would have kept Jackson out for six weeks, setting him up to be completely healthy for the primetime showdown in Dallas.
Instead, surgery has been pushed off, and the original hope of getting Jackson back on the field sooner and surgery-free has turned into a situation of unfulfilled target returns, and eventually, Jackson playing through pain. In a recent press conference, Doug Pederson indicated that if and when Jackson returns to the field, he’s going to have to play through a serious amount of discomfort.
Jackson has yet to return to practice and is still rehabbing his injury. The problem has been nagging for so long that Jackson not only flew to California while the team was in Green Bay to get treatment but he also this week had him personal trainers come in from California to continue efforts of trying to heal him.
So, with that all unpacked, let’s do a brief overview to see again just what played out…
- Jackson suffers an injury in warmups against the Falcons. It was originally labeled as a groin injury, but later changed to being an abdominal injury, a tell-tale sign that it’s a sports hernia issue. Doug Pederson also believed Jackson could have played through the injury if it were a playoff game
- Jackson was reportedly out two weeks, but more than double the time later, he still isn’t close to returning.
- Jackson and the team opted against a surgery with a six-week recovery, and with the six-week mark approaching, Jackson still isn’t even practicing.
- When Jackson returns, he won’t be 100% and will have to play through pain
- Jackson is now branching beyond the Eagles medical staff and had his own personal trainers fly in from California to treat him
Jackson has had his fair share of injuries throughout his career, but this by no means can be blamed on him. It ultimately is Jackson’s choice to opt against surgery, but he wouldn’t have decided on that if he knew what would play out. Once again, the medical staff appears to have wrongly handled an injury, and it’s now costing the Eagles’ lone deep-threat on offense almost half of the season.
This story has been heard before with the Eagles medical staff, and this new one seems to, unfortunately, be experiencing their own downfall.
As of right now, as mentioned before, the hope is Jackson is able to get back on the field for the Cowboys game, but there is no guarantee in that.
Even when Jackson is back to playing, it will be with a considerable amount of pain, and he won’t be close to 100% healthy.