Nick Foles hopes lessons learned from elbow injury lead to long-term health

Nick Foles hopes lessons learned from elbow injury lead to long-term health

Nick Foles wasn't just rehabbing an elbow injury the last two weeks. He was learning how to take care of his arm for the long haul so this kind of thing never happens again.

Foles returned to practice Monday on a limited basis, 17 days after his last training camp practice. He practiced just twice — July 27 and 28 — before shutting down with a sore elbow.

The veteran quarterback, who went 15-9 in 24 starts here from 2012 through 2014 before stints with the Rams and Chiefs, now backs up Carson Wentz. He said he's never experienced the sort of elbow discomfort that he did early in camp and was determined to figure out during his layoff why it was happening and what he could do to prevent it from happening again.

Foles said he's 100 percent healthy now but will ease back to full-go at practice.

"It sort of catches you off guard at first and you think it's just something that's going to go away and then it gets worse and worse and worse and then you realize it's something [serious]," he said after practice.

"I've been trying to treat it but it just never went away. There's days where it felt OK but never days where it felt great and then there were days where it felt horrible. So it's just one of those things, but it feels great now."

Foles, who didn't play in the preseason opener Thursday against the Packers, participated Monday in individual drills and some 7-on-7 drills. He said he'll do a little more tomorrow but won't play in the second preseason game, this Thursday at the Linc against the Bills.

It sounds like he'll be full-go on Saturday when the Eagles return to practice. He said he expects to play in the third preseason game, a week from Thursday at the Linc against the Dolphins.

"I feel good, really good," he said. "Was good to be back at practice, throwing the ball around. We're easing back into it. A little bit today, a little more tomorrow and then rest, rest, do a lot of therapy and hopefully be full-go in less than a week."

Foles, now in his sixth season, said he began feeling tenderness in his right (throwing) elbow last year with the Chiefs and it continued this summer.

But instead of just resting, he worked with the trainers on figuring out what caused the discomfort and how to avoid it in the future.

"My arm's always been good," he said. "This is the first time I've ever had to deal with it. Last year it flared up for the first time ever. It's new to me but I'm learning. I'm still young, I'm 28, so supposedly when you're 28 you're in the prime of your athletic career, so hopefully, it stays stable for the rest of my career."

What caused it?

Just life as an NFL quarterback.

"It could be anything from getting hit on it, wear and tear, playing through injuries, I think it's everything," he said. "Fundamentals do come into effect and a lot of times fundamentals get out of whack when you play through things, so for me [it was important] to learn the proper fundamentals for my throw so there's not as much pressure in that area, through the forearm."

Foles said part of the process the last two weeks was examining his throwing motion and determining how more efficient biomechanics could help keep his elbow pain-free.

"There's different things that we're figuring out when I throw and how I'm throwing it, whether it's keeping the left arm tucked in or whatever it may be, the release point, where we can monitor where the least amount of pressure is on that elbow," he said.

"And that's what I'm going to try to focus on when I came, but there's also times when I have to throw from different angles."

Foles, the last quarterback to take the Eagles to the playoffs, said the last few weeks have given him a deeper understanding of how to take care of his arm and presumably extend his career.

"I've learned a lot through this experience," he said. "It's a way to maintain my arm the rest of my career. The big thing is a really intensive warm-up in the training room, after practice, go do treatment, continue to do arm exercises and ... other things to recover.

"It'll be wise to do that the rest of my career so I don't have to deal with this again. That's what I took out of this experience."

Eagles Injury Update: Lane Johnson, Wendell Smallwood back at practice


Eagles Injury Update: Lane Johnson, Wendell Smallwood back at practice

Right tackle Lane Johnson and running back Wendell Smallwood were both back at Eagles practice Tuesday.
Johnson missed the Panthers game with a concussion he suffered against Cardinals, and Smallwood missed the last two games after hurting his knee against the Chargers.
Practice was closed Tuesday and the Eagles are not required to release an injury report until Thursday because of the long week, but a team official confirmed that Johnson practiced — which means he was cleared through the NFL's concussion protocol by an approved neurosurgeon.
Johnson was not in the locker room during the period it was open to the media, but Smallwood said he did practice without limitations and hopes to play against the Redskins Monday night.
"It's been coming along," Smallwood said. "Felt good these past couple days, since really after the Carolina game it started feeling good. I was full-go today, I practiced with the guys. ... I wasn't limited at all. It really didn't bother me much. I felt good today. Hopefully, later on in the week, I'll feel better as the week goes and I'll be playing Monday. I think I should be ready."
Smallwood rushed for 113 yards with a 3.9 average and caught seven passes for 56 yards in four games before getting hurt early in the Chargers game.
"Wendell obviously brings a lot to the table," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "He's that thrashing, downhill runner. He's got some explosiveness. He's a three-down back, he's good out of the backfield, he's really good in protection. It brings all those things."
Smallwood said he played "on adrenaline" with the injury but said his knee swelled up during the game.
Injuries have married Smallwood's career. He missed the last three games last year with a knee injury and missed time in training camp with a hamstring injury.
"I get frustrated a lot when I'm not in the game, not being out there to help and progress as the year goes on," he said. "So it frustrates me.
"But it happens. I've just got to suck it up and not pay attention to it. Just know I can bounce back and just try to get on the field as fast as I can."
Smallwood said he expects to be 100 percent Monday night in a huge divisional game against the Redskins at the Linc.
"I believe so," he said. "I'm not going to hold back any. I'm not going to think about it or get nervous. I have that confidence in myself. As the week's gone on, I just started feeling better about what I'm able to do."

Also, rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, who became eligible to practice Wednesday after spending the first six weeks on the reserve-non football injury list, said he did not practice. Jones has been out since suffering a torn Achilles at his pro day in March.

Judge set to rule on latest bid to stop Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

USA Today Images

Judge set to rule on latest bid to stop Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

NEW YORK — A federal judge said he will rule Tuesday on an emergency request from attorneys for Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott to stop the running back's six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty heard arguments from lawyers on both sides as the NFL Players Association scrambled to keep Elliott on the field after a federal appeals court last week overturned an injunction that had stopped the league's suspension.

Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie, is on the suspended list. The Cowboys play at San Francisco on Sunday.

Attorney Daniel Nash, arguing for the NFL, accused Elliott's legal team of seeking relief from courts in Texas to evade courts in New York and the effect of the April 2016 ruling that reinstated a four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, representing the NFLPA, asked Crotty to prevent enforcement of the suspension for two weeks so that the Southern District of New York judge assigned to the case — Katherine Polk Failla — can return from a vacation and rule. Crotty concluded the hearing by saying he'd look at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Brady case before ruling by the end of the day on the union's request for a temporary restraining order.

Nash warned Crotty that allowing the union to continue to delay the suspension would invite "every player who's suspended" to go to court for relief.

"They know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success. None," Nash said.

Kessler said the harm to a player's short career was serious when a suspension is served.

"He can never get that back," Kessler said, arguing that the irreparable harm — among issues of law considered before a temporary restraining order is granted — faced by a player is much greater than harm claimed by the league when a suspension is delayed.

In their request for the temporary restraining order, Elliott's attorneys said NFL procedure required rosters to be set by 4 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said there is no such deadline from the league's perspective.

NFLPA attorneys, working on Elliott's behalf, also said the league had already informed Elliott that he couldn't practice or play this week. The Cowboys returned to work Tuesday after their bye week and will have their first full practice Wednesday.

Elliott was suspended in August by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence, but the NFL did its own investigation and announced the six-game punishment.

That led to weeks of court filings, with NFLPA lawyers contending that league investigators withheld key evidence from Commissioner Roger Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses. Elliott has denied Thompson's allegations under oath.

The NFL placed Elliott on the suspended list a day after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned a Texas court's injunction that kept Elliott on the field.

The case is shifting to New York because the New Orleans court ordered the dismissal of Elliott's lawsuit in Texas. Depending on the outcome in New York, Elliott's attorneys could still seek a rehearing with a larger panel of the appeals court, which they have indicated they would do.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled 2-1 last week that Elliott's attorneys filed the Texas lawsuit prematurely because the arbitrator had yet to decide on the running back's appeal through the NFL. Elliott's attorneys have argued in subsequent filings that the dissenting judge in New Orleans agreed with the Texas judge's findings that the NFL appeal was unfair to Elliott.

Brady's suspension was served more than a year after it was imposed. A federal judge ruled against the NFL and overturned the suspension, but the league won an appeal.