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Spikes "I'm 100 percent"

Through his career, Takeo Spikes has proven he's a top flite linebacker. He's been to two pro bowls and had been dominant until his achilles injury two years ago...

So the question now is whether he's going to be fully back from that. The Eagles stance, and that of  most doctors is that an achilles tear takes one full year to come back from. That means basically two NFL seasons. Joe Banner said that the Eagles research suggests that players really return to form in their second year back from an achilles injury. They cite Julian Peterson as a specific example of a guy who struggled in his first year back and exploded in his second. TKO agrees.

"Leading into the season, I wasn't where I wanted to be at the beginning, but I could still do a lot of things," Spikes said. "So that really didn't tear my spirits down. I just continued to keep working."

Spikes was injured in September 2005 but didn't begin rehabilitation until four or five months later. Doctors told him he needed a year from the time he began rehab to completely recover.

"That year-anniversary passed in late January, early February," Spikes said. "So I definitely can tell a big difference. ... Last year, I was doing more rehab stuff. Now this year, I have a full offseason to train."

Andy Reid did his homework on Spikes and the injury.

"I did a little bit of a study on Achilles' tendon surgeries," Reid said. "Normally, that first year coming back, you're 75 to 80 percent, somewhere around there. The second year, normally they get back to where they were. So you're banking on that a bit [with Spikes].

"I thought as the season went on, he got better. I thought he got stronger and had more trust in the leg. He did have the hamstring, which isn't uncommon coming off an Achilles. You're kind of projecting a little bit. But that's the kind of the business we're in."

I'm sure I don't have to say that a whole lot rides on whether Spikes is back to pro bowl form. He could transform this LB corps from below average to pretty damn good. His mobility would allow Trotter to focus more on playing downhill and being that "thumper" in the middle. Trotter was at his worst last year when he had to pursue to the edges. Certainly with a Takeo Spikes manning one side of the field, teams will be wary of running to at least one of the edges. If Gocong or Gaither/McCoy step up and become a player at the other edge... we've got ourselves a scary situation for opposing backs.

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