Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole didn’t know Nigel Bradham was hurt Sunday until he saw Bradham on the sideline, his swollen hand too big to fit inside his glove.
Bradham broke his left thumb in three places on the third play of Sunday’s game in a “friendly fire” incident but was able to play all 62 defensive snaps anyway.
He had surgery Monday — he got a plate and six pins inserted into his thumb — and plans on playing this coming Monday against Washington in a huge division matchup.
How’s that for tough?
“One thing about Nigel is he’s a pretty tough nut,” Flajole said. “Pretty competitive. And he didn’t want to come out of the ballgame, even though I’m pretty sure there was tremendous discomfort with that thing. That’s a big credit to him.”
Bradham, 29, had his left hand/thumb in a thick white cast on Wednesday but isn’t exactly sure what he’ll be wearing during the game. If he needs to get some advice, he can ask fellow linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, who has been playing with a broken thumb for a few weeks now.
It’s not easy for a linebacker to play without a healthy thumb, but it’s not like Bradham or the Eagles have much of a choice right now. The Eagles desperately need Bradham to play because Jordan Hicks (calf) isn’t ready to return just yet.
How hard is it going to be to play through this injury?
“It’s tough,” Bradham said. “Just trying to get off blocks, being able to tackle. You pretty much use your hands every play anyway. It’s definitely tough, but just something I had to overcome.”
On Wednesday morning, while speaking to the entire defense, Jim Schwartz praised Bradham and Michael Bennett for playing through injuries Sunday. Flajole said some other players on other teams might not have gone back in.
Without Hicks, Bradham has an even more important role with the defense. He has taken over as the defensive signal caller in Hicks’ absence. It’s a job he handled after Hicks tore his Achilles last year, but Bradham admitted there was some rust Sunday, especially when the Giants began to run a tempo offense. Eventually, though, Bradham settled back into the role.
If Bradham were to miss time, Nate Gerry would likely be the next guy up in that position, but everyone expects Bradham to play.
After all, he already played with the injury Sunday.
“Something inside, man. Heart,” Bradham said. “I guess that’s the only answer for it, really. It was definitely painful but it was just something I had to get through.”
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