The 2011 season hasn’t even started yet and the Eagles have already received some bad news. Right tackle Winston Justice is scheduled for surgery on his left knee Tuesday in Alabama, according to reports. The surgery will be performed by world renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews.
Justice missed a few games down the stretch, including the Eagles’ 21-16 Wild Card loss to the Packers. This could very significant depending on which procedure is done. The Eagles tackle has a bone chip in his left knee and may need microfracture surgery which would jeopardize his 2011 season and potentially his career.
The surgery would take at least eight months to recover but most players who receive this surgery don’t come back the same. Just like Eagles’ DE Victor Abiamiri underwent the same surgery last offseason and missed the entire 2010 season.
The best case scenario for Justice is that he just needs the knee scoped which takes about three to four weeks to recover.
This could be a major blow to the Eagles offensive line if Justice is out for a significant amount of time and I would expect the Eagles to try and pursue a quality offensive lineman to fill in for Justice if/when the new CBA is signed. Justice was a big part of this line because, playing with a left handed quarterback like Michael Vick, he had to protect the blindside.
When Justice was hurt, tackle King Dunlap replaced him, who at times showed some promise but mostly struggled and played very inconsistently. The Eagles have a new offensive line coach, legendary Howard Mudd. Mudd has done a tremendous job developing offensive lineman and if the Eagles decide that Dunlap is their man, then Dunlap is going to need all the intuition he can get.
The only problem with that is with the potential lockout, players can’t communicate with coaches, doctors, trainers, etc. If there is a long lockout this will hurt the Eagles on potentially developing Dunlap and even trying to get another lineman. This is not the way you want to start off the 2011 season.
UPDATE: According to more reports, citing team officials, Justice’s procedure doesn’t to seem to be more than just a “clean out”. In a report the team official said, “There is absolutely no reason to believe it’s more than that.”
They went on to say it could be more serious but they expect the right tackle to be ready for OTAs and training camp.
Eagles sign LB Jeanty
As the NFL and the Players’ Association continue their mediation meetings, the Eagles are making some moves while they still can, before the current CBA expires March 4.
The Eagles announced on Sunday that they have signed linebacker Rashad Jeanty to a one year deal. Jeanty last played in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2006-2009. He fractured his fibula in the team’s 2009 Wild Card game against the Jets and missed the entire 2010 season.
The 27-year-old has record 215 total tackles in 53 games while starting 32 of them while playing outside linebacker. His best season as a pro was 2008 when he posted a career high 97 tackles while earning the Ed Block Courage Award from his teammates.
Jeanty is also a two time Grey Cup Champion with the Edmonton Eskimos when he played in the CFL from 2002-2005
The 6’2”, 243 pound linebacker has the experience and shows he can be productive when given the chance. He will add depth to a thin line backing corps and also sure up a kickoff coverage unit that was inconsistent all season long. Jeanty led the Bengals with 14 special team tackles in 2009.
The uncertainty lies with how he will perform after being out of football for a full season. But he is a low risk, high reward signing that could work out well for the Eagles.