By Justin Adkins:
Per Geoff Mosher of the Wilmington News Journal, Eagles right tackle Winston Justice will need to undergo knee surgery, possibly of the microfracture variety, according to a source with the Eagles.
The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta and will be performed by well known Birmingham-based surgeon Dr. James Andrews — the guy who always seems to be operating on players with major injuries.
The best-case scenario is a less-serious arthroscopic procedure to remove a bone chip from Justice’s knee. Basically a clean out. If it’s determined that more serious microfracture surgery is needed, Justice can expect to miss the entire 2011 season. The former’s recovery time is a few weeks, while the latter will shelve the veteran tackle for around eight months.
Justice injured the knee last season, causing him to sit out a couple games in December and to miss the season finale. He was also benched by head coach Andy Reid during the playoff loss to the Packers. What was originally called a hyper-extension and not serious at the time by Reid, it looks like the pain has persisted and has necessitated the surgery. With Reid’s history of lying to the media and the fans, it’s likely the team knew this injury would linger, though no one will know whether it will require a microfracture procedure until Dr. Andrews gets in there to take a look.
Eagles defensive end Victor Abiamiri had microfracture surgery this past off-season, causing him to miss the entire 2010 season.
Mosher indicates that the plan is for Justice to rehab in Philadelphia with the Eagles medical staff, but that would be impacted if the players are locked out on March 4. If that happens, no player will be able to have contact with their respective teams, including for injury recovery.
Assuming the worst and Justice is gone, the Eagles have a few possible options at right tackle for 2011.
Looking at the existing roster, Mike McGlynn is the likely first choice to replace Justice. While he played center this past season, McGlynn is a natural right tackle and could probably slide back over without too much difficulty. With injured center Jamaal Jackson himself looking to come back from injury, it would make sense to have McGlynn move positions, assuming Jackson is healthy.
The Eagles could also look to the draft for Justice’s replacement. Gabe Carimi, the massive offensive tackle from Wisconsin, has been linked to the Eagles in many mock drafts, and for good reason. Carimi is more suited to play right than left tackle in the NFL, meaning he should be available later in the first round than traditional left tackle prospects. He would obviously fill a huge need. A Jon Runyan-clone, the Eagles will likely take a long look at the 6-7, 320 pounder.
The other option is to look to free agency, which due to the ongoing labor issues should be the deepest in history. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with the potentially available offensive tackles. However, should they decide to crack open the purse a little bit there are a number of players available that could step in and contribute. Tyson Clabo (Falcons), Doug Free (Cowboys), Jared Gaither (Ravens), and Jammal Brown (Redskins) are all possible targets. Not exactly an exciting group, but all are likely better than Stacy Andrews, who probably still laughs while spending all that money the Eagles gave him.
Eagles assistant offensive coordinator James Urban has left the team to take a job as wide receievers coach with the Cicinnati Bengals. Urban previously coached the Eagles quarterbacks for the past two seasons before being promoted a couple weeks ago to the assistant offensive coordinator position. Urban had been with the Eagles since 2004, serving first as Andy Reid’s assistant then as an offensive quality control coach.
With Cincinnati likely to move on from both Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, Urban will potentially have the opportunity to develop young players as a coach in Cincinnati. That, or he knew the Eagles coaches were all going down with the ship once Reid fails again in 2011 and wanted a head start in a new town.
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