Zach’s rib in­jury Ertz the Birds

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent rpar­ent@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Reluc­tan­tSE on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> The Ea­gles could be head­ing to Chicago with their best tight end, Zach Ertz, un­avail­able to play against the Bears next Mon­day night at Sol­dier Field.

Head coach Doug Ped­er­son said Mon­day that Ertz suf­fered a “first rib dis­place­ment” af­ter tak­ing a hit on his left shoul­der in the first quar­ter of Sun­day’s 29-10 sea­son-open­ing vic­tory over the Cleve­land Browns. Ped­er­son said Ertz’s sta­tus has been des­ig­nated as “week to week.”

“It’s a lit­tle bit longer (than the usual day-to-day re­port), ob­vi­ously,” said Ped­er­son, who also tagged in­jured cor­ner­back Leodis McKelvin (ham­string strain) as be­ing week to week. “We’ve got to kind of get them through the week to see where they are by game time com­ing up Mon­day.”

Ertz was a key cog in the sce­nario that made Car­son Wentz look like a bloom­ing star in his first NFL game. Wentz com­pleted 22 of 37 pass at­tempts for 278 yards and a pair of touch­downs. Ertz caught six balls on seven tar­gets, good for 58 yards.

If Ertz can’t go, veteran Brent Celek, who made good on his only tar­get for an 11-yard grab against the Browns, would be much more in­volved in the game plan. Third tight end Trey Bur­ton was out with a calf

in­jury Sun­day but Ped­er­son is op­ti­mistic he would be back by Mon­day.

“A dis­place­ment is not a bro­ken bone at all; It just means that the rib has dis­placed it­self un­der­neath the col­lar­bone,” Ped­er­son said. “But it’s not a frac­ture or a bro­ken bone.”

Ped­er­son said Ertz took a hit af­ter he made a cross­ing pat­tern catch and turned up­field near the Cleve­land side­line in the first quar­ter.

“He turned up the side­line right on the bound­ary and went to pro­tect him­self and right on the side­line, low­ered the shoul­der and took a di­rect blow on his left shoul­der,” Ped­er­son

said. “Right away when he came off af­ter that se­ries, (ath­letic trainer Chris) Pe­duzzi came and said, ‘Hey, he’s got a left shoul­der strain.’ We could tell that at the time. But as the game wore on, I didn’t know that any­thing was more se­ri­ous than that.

“It just shows the tough­ness, the phys­i­cal tough­ness that he has, once we found out the ex­tent of the in­jury,” Ped­er­son added about Ertz. “For him to play through it, it’s a credit to him to be able to fight through and bat­tle through . ... He’ll prob­a­bly have to be cleared (to play again) be­cause it’s a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion with dis­placed

bones. You are talk­ing up around the neck and head area, so any type of blow again could do fur­ther dam­age to that.”

*** With McKelvin also pos­si­bly out for Game 2, Ped­er­son said the Ea­gles would prob­a­bly make a ros­ter move this week, per­haps pro­mot­ing rookie cor­ner C.J. Smith from the prac­tice squad.

There is also sure to be more play­ing time for Jalen Mills, whose late-game hit on Robert Grif­fin III left the Cleve­land quar­ter­back with a sprained shoul­der, but no com­plaints about the hit Mills had put on him. Ped­er­son seemed to agree with that as­sess­ment.

“I thought he played well, com­ing in there and fill­ing in for (McKelvin),” Ped­er­son said of Mills, who had two tack­les. “There’s a good chance that he gets more work, ob­vi­ously, this week. I’m very com­fort­able with what he has done so far through train­ing camp. Again, he’s an­other one of those young play­ers that we have that will just get bet­ter with more reps.”

*** Ped­er­son spent a lot of time talk­ing about the poise shown by his rookie quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz. Then he was asked about his poise as a first-game NFL head coach, which be­gan with him stand­ing next to vi­cepres­i­dent Joe Bi­den hold­ing an over­sized Amer­i­can Flag ban­ner.

“Stand­ing there hold­ing the flag and just kind of look­ing around the sta­dium and soak­ing ev­ery­thing in, was a great feel­ing for me,” Ped­er­son said. “To stand there and see the peo­ple, what a great crowd we had. And I was calm. Yeah, I had the in­ter­nal but­ter­flies like prob­a­bly ev­ery coach and player in the Na­tional Foot­ball League has on any given game. But it was calm. I was ex­cited and I was ready to watch our guys per­form.”

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