The Philadelphia Eagles are hinging a lot on Michael Vick's ability to be healthy. Despite that, not many Eagles fans like myself believe that he can stay healthy, at least not for a full 16 games. And since he couldn't even get through this year's first preseason game without a hand injury, there's even less reason to believe the worst isn't yet to come.
Vick dodged his first injury bullet much earlier than we would have liked on Aug. 9, after hurting his hand against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead of being knocked out on a hard hit after a risky run, Vick got banged up by hurting his left thumb on the helmet of Eagles' center Jason Kelce.
The quarterback shouldn't have even been on the field, since this happened in the second quarter. But thanks to the Eagles struggling on defense, Vick ran only three plays in the first quarter and needed more action. For a time, the fear was that this had done major damage to him before the season even started.
Since x-rays returned negative, Vick's thumb should be just fine soon enough. However, if he can't get through the first preseason game without a new bruise, how can he escape 16 regular season games - and hopefully up to three or four playoff games - unscathed? If the Eagles have to answer that question, their season may be grounded right then and there.
The backup quarterbacks did lead Philadelphia to a 24-23 comeback win over Pittsburgh in the second half. Yet the likes of Mike Kafka, Trent Edwards and Nick Foles are not the one to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl. For that matter, Vick has never been a Super Bowl quarterback either, but he can't finally get it right if he gets too hurt to play.
Most of us in Philadelphia have been worried about Vick going down after an ill-advised run, or after he held onto the ball far too long. He hardly needs more ways to get hurt, or more bumps and bruises to heal from. And the last thing the Eagles need is to bite their nails over him before the regular season even starts.
Yet if this is what we're all in for in 2012, it is going to be a very stressful five months ahead. We were put out of our misery early last season, when Vick waited until the second game of 2011 to get injured and the Eagles tanked soon after. Will Philadelphia and Vick fall off the tightrope that quickly this year, or can they stay on a little longer - even if they just fall off later anyway?
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Michael Vick