He hasn't played a snap since week two of the 2008 season, but Shawn Andrews has complete confidence that his back, along with the rest of him, will be ready to go for the Eagles' season opener in Carolina on September 13th.
"I'm feeling really positive about it," Andrews said. "I'm just elated about the way I feel right now, and I think this (back)'s about to take off.
The Big Kid has been hard at work, exhausting every option to help his body return to its former Pro Bowl shape, including taking prescribed pain medication and undergoing extensive acupuncture. A visit to a California back specialist last week confirmed that the offensive lineman had suffered no structural damage to his back, but the pain remained. The difficult process hasn't dampened Andrews' spirits though, or at least as he tells it.
"I'm doing everything in my power, exhausting all means to get back. I am stoked about where I am right now."
Andrews says that he is going to start pushing himself harder in practice, and started off by running 40-yard sprints at practice yesterday. Today, he plans to take it up a notch in the hopes that he will soon rejoin his teammates on the practice field at the NovaCare Complex.
"I think it's coming up here real soon," Andrews said. "I think I'm getting to that point where I might be able to take on a bull rush or two."
Hopefully, Andrews' progress will be enough that Andy Reid will see it fit to start him against the Panthers. On Saturday, Reid announced that he was ready to start the season without his star offensive lineman, so Andrews will have to show a large amount of improvement if he wants to live up to his prediction of starting in week one. If Andrews isn't ready, it's likely that we will be seeing more of Winston Justice at right tackle.