Nobody’s even surprised anymore when Eagles players get hurt. You expect it at this point.
And so it was with the news Wednesday that safety Will Parks will miss significant time with a hamstring injury.
It wasn’t as much, “Oh no, we’ll really miss him,” as much as, “Here we go again.”
Playing for the Eagles means you’re going to get hurt. With only a few exceptions.
The Eagles have overhauled the training and medical staffs after each of the last three seasons and embarked on a youth movement this past offseason fueled by a desire to get healthier.
They’ve hired physical therapists, nutritionists and sports performance specialists.
And yet here we are.
“One of the things that obviously has been an issue for us has been the injury situation,” GM Howie Roseman said in January. “In 2017, we were able to overcome it. The last two years, the injuries have really hurt our football team. Injuries are going to happen. But we have to figure out a way to get better here.”
So far, they haven’t.
After just two weeks of training camp, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave, Lane Johnson, Miles Sanders, Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jalen Reagor and Parks have all already suffered significant injuries.
All were either projected starters or key rotational guys.
The only Eagles who’ve started every game over the last two years are Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce. And Cox had a serious foot injury coming out of the 2018 season that slowed him down early last year.
Rasul Douglas and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are the only other regular position players who haven’t been hurt.
It’s been an epidemic, and the Eagles know it.
And they can’t fix it. Even though they keep trying.
Let’s recap the turnover within the Eagles’ training, medical and rehabilitation staff over the last 30 months.
Feb. 20, 2018 –Trainer Chris Peduzzi, who had been with the organization since 1999, resigned.
June 13, 2018 - Jerome Reid hired as head trainer and promoted Joe O’Pella as associate trainer.
June 17, 2018 – Physicians Peter DeLuca and Gary Dorshimer leave the team for nearly 20 years each.
Aug. 8, 2018 - Stephen A. Stache hired as team orthopedic doctor and Christopher Dodson promoted to team physician
June 11, 2019 - Arsh Dhanota hired to newly created position of chief medical officer.
Feb. 4, 2020 - Shaun Huls, director of high performance, and Shireen Mansoori, director of rehabilitation, leave the organization.
Feb. 7, 2020 - Tom Hunkele hired as director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer.
Feb. 7, 2020 - Ted Rath hired as director of sports performance.
The one constant has been the strength and conditioning staff.
Strength and conditioning coach Josh Hingst came in with Chip Kelly in 2013. All but one of his assistants have been here at least five years – Keith Gray since 2012 and Patrick McDowell, Mike Minnis and Ben Wagner since 2016. Edward Grayer is in his first year.
Every team has injuries. And this unprecedented offseason, with players training on their own until a few weeks ago, could certainly be responsible for some injuries.
But the Eagles’ have taken it to a new level.
But it’s more than injuries. There have been frequent mysteries surrounding them.
How did Carson Wentz go from having a sore back one day in 2018 to missing the rest of the season? Why did DeSean Jackson try to play last year instead of having surgery? Why did Mack Hollins miss a year and a half with a groin injury? Why did Jalen Mills’ foot injury never seem to get better?
There have been soft tissue injuries, torn muscles, ACLs, stress fractures, you name it.
And they’ve occurred in games, at practice, lifting, running.
There is no common theme. And that makes it harder to figure out. Harder to solve.
Why are the Eagles always hurt?
It’s impossible to even ask that question much less answer it because the Eagles under Doug Pederson never make anybody from their medical, training or rehab staff available to explain injuries.
So Pederson is generally left to answer injury questions, but as he reminds us, he’s not a doctor and isn’t qualified to answer.
Roseman will address big-picture injury issues, but he only talks to the media a few times a year.
And lately, the Eagles haven’t even been divulging injury details, going instead with the vague “upper-body” and “lower-body” designations that leave everyone guessing.
The Eagles have overhauled their staff and gone on a youth movement that’s taken them from 3rd-oldest team in the league to 9th-youngest.
And still it seems like somebody else goes down just about every day.
The reality is there is no one single answer.
Every injury is different, every cause is different.
There are just lots and lots of questions and so far no good answers from a team that hasn’t been at full strength in years.