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 β€” July 27 and 28 β€” 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."

Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

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Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

Several hours after an NJ.com report surfaced that the Eagles were unlikely to re-sign Trey Burton, the tight end denied it on Twitter.

Replying to a tweet about the report from former Eagles teammate Emmanuel Acho, Burton said he hasn't spoken to anyone.

NJ.com's Matt Lombardo reported Friday that the Eagles made Burton an offer that the soon-to-be-free-agent "didn't consider serious."

"We are fully expecting Trey to sign elsewhere," the source said.

It wouldn't be surprising whatsoever if Burton leaves in free agency. A team will likely pay him starter's money and offer him a chance to start, which he doesn't have here with Zach Ertz firmly entrenched.

The Eagles are over the projected salary cap, and while they could create space in numerous ways, they also have to worry about re-signing key linebacker Nigel Bradham.

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

The Eagles are coming off a thrilling season but there's a lot of work to be done. 

The NFL's new league year begins on March 14 and the Eagles must be under the salary cap by then. The problem is that based on projections, the Eagles are set to be more than $9 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap. So it's time for some maneuvering. 

The good news is that Howie Roseman's specialty has always been finding unique ways to get the Eagles out of cap trouble. There are ways for him to do it again.

Cut Torrey Smith 
Probably the easiest one. Smith was a great teammate and a solid addition to the Eagles' locker room, and he really stepped up his game in the playoffs, but it's probably not enough to bring him back. He just wasn't good enough last season, and cutting him would save the Eagles $5 million in cap room with no dead money. The Birds still have Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, while Mack Hollins is entering Year 2. 

Cut Brent Celek
This one will hurt, but Celek can take away the sting if he decides to walk away as a champion. He's set to have a cap number of $5 million. That's just way too much for what Celek provides these days. By cutting him, the Eagles would save $4 million in cap space. So just between Smith and Celek, the Eagles will almost get back to zero ... but there's other work to do. They'll still need money to sign free agents and draft picks. 

Extend Brandon Graham 
Graham is entering the final year of his contract with a cap number of $8 million. He wants a new contract and deserves one. Good news: An extension would work for both sides. Graham would get more money long term and the Eagles could get his cap number down this season. 

Rework/cut Vinny Curry
Curry is coming off of probably his best season in the NFL but will have an $11 million cap number. That's tough to swallow, especially with Derek Barnett waiting for his chance to start. It seems likely the Eagles will ask Curry to take a pay cut or rework his deal. If not, cutting him would leave $6 million in dead money but would also save $5 million in cap room. 

Trade Mychal Kendricks
If you remember, Kendricks actually wanted a trade last offseason. Good thing that didn't happen. Kendricks ended up being a big part of the Eagles' success in 2017. Depending on what happens with Nigel Bradham in free agency and with Jordan Hicks' Achilles recovery, trading Kendricks might again be an option. A trade would save $4.4 million in cap space. 

Trade Nick Foles 
This is such a tough one β€” we explore it more here. But basically, Foles is a pretty amazing insurance policy until we know when Carson Wentz is going to be ready. If the Eagles do trade Foles, it would save them $5.2 million that they could certainly use. The problem is that by the time they know Wentz's status, free agency will be long gone and that cap space won't help this year. But it could help in 2019.