So, what’s up with this Philadelphia Eagles medical staff?
That’s the question on the minds of a lot of fans following the news of Carson Wentz’s fractured back injury.
But while Wentz’s situation is certainly at the forefront, it’s not just his injury that’s raised questions about the Eagles’ medical staff this season. The list goes beyond him.
Before we get into that, let’s recap how we got here.
The Eagles later replaced Peduzzi with Jerome Reid, who seemingly might have some kind of connection with vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas.
In addition to Peduzzi leaving, the Eagles also didn’t return Dr. Peter DeLuca (head team physician) and Dr. Gary Dorshimer (team internist). As was the case with Peduzzi, both DeLuca and Dorshrimer had been with the Eagles for nearly two decades.
The Eagles officially finalized their training and medical staff in August. An announcement on the team’s website shows that, in addition to making some new hires, a number of previous staff members were retained.
The timing of the changes seemed curious. Why were the Eagles shaking things up after just winning the Super Bowl? For four seasons (2013-2016), the Eagles were the healthiest team in the NFL in terms of adjusted games lost. Why makes changes now?
Perhaps it had to do something with the public criticism from former players. To this day, former Philly linebacker Emmanuel Acho is still ripping the Eagles’ medical staff, calling them “suspect.” As a member of the Bills, Jordan Matthews said he received “two really bad diagnoses” from the Eagles’ staff. Former Philadelphia draft pick Earl Wolff has shared some examples of misdiagnoses as well.
Perhaps the Eagles felt the need to upgrade. Or at least try to improve the optics.
It sounds like not everyone was on board.
Worth noting for some background as this story develops over next few days: Eagles fired [fixed typo] team doctor in the offseason. Don’t believe Howie was a fan. Not the first injury related question this year.— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) December 13, 2018
The evidence the 2018 season has to offer suggests the Eagles’ medical staff is far from reproach. The misdiagnoses are still present.
After first appearing on the injury report with a back issue in Week 7 and Week 8, it’s just recently been discovered that Wentz has a fractured vertebrae. Reports indicate testing throughout the season did not reveal Wentz’s injury until recently.
Apparently, it’s not unusual for this type of injury to not show up on initial scans. It might take time. Seems fair enough.
Except, there’s this:
Source: Carson Wentz has had a fracture in his back but was not made aware of the results of the scan. Some players are aware of the situation and what I am told this has caused a huge issue internally.— Jason Myrtetus (@jasonmyrt) December 13, 2018
It remains to be seen how much truth there is to the Eagles withholding information from Wentz. It’s a pretty serious accusation.
For what it’s worth, national media types pushed back against the sentiment.
There’s two angles on this Wentz thing. One, they missed the injury. Criticize them all you want there. Be my guest. The other one angle is they hid the injury from Wentz. There is zero evidence that occurred here. None.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 13, 2018
Here is reality on Carson Wentz: Nothing unusual being done by the Eagles. Previous scans did not reveal this latest issue that showed up this week. Full recovery expected, no surgery needed, back is healing and medical staff will weigh if there is any risk in Wentz playing.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 13, 2018
Perhaps the Eagles weren’t hiding Wentz’s back injury from him. There’s ample reason to believe that’s the case.
Ultimately, though, it seems like he wasn’t diagnosed properly from the beginning. And with other misdiagnoses taking place, one can only wonder about this staff’s competency.
Sticking with Wentz for a second, let’s go back to that one day in training camp practice where he was fully participating in 11-on-11. It was the day where he almost had a couple players fall onto his surgically repaired knee. After that practice, Wentz didn’t participate in 11-on-11 for a few weeks. It was said that Wentz didn’t suffer a setback, and maybe that’s the case. But what if Wentz was curiously held out because there was some kind of issue? What if he was participating in 11-on-11 sooner than he should’ve been due to another misdiagnosis?
A lot of speculation here, to be sure, but it doesn’t seem so crazy to suggest when you consider other the curious injury situations of other Eagles players.
Ajayi, playing through a broken back at the time, tore his ACL during the Eagles’ Week 5 game against the Vikings. Somehow, Ajayi managed to finish the game despite such a serious injury. How does that happen?
Sproles suffered a hamstring injury leading up to the Eagles’ Week 2 game. He was kept out until Week 10, when he returned to practice. Sproles then aggravated his injury on his first day back and wasn’t able to play until Week 13. Missing 11 weeks due to hamstring issue hardly seems like a regular occurrence.
The Eagles’ 2017 first-round pick played with a torn rotator cuff for several weeks before being placed on injured reserve.
An October 31 report described Mills as “week-to-week” after the cornerback injured his foot in Week 8. Almost a month later on November 26, Doug Pederson said of Mills: “I think he’s doing well. He’s still day-to-day.” Mills never returned to practice and instead was seen wearing a walking boot after the Eagles’ Week 13 game against Washington. Philadelphia then placed him on injured reserve leading up to the team’s Week 14 game.
Jernigan entered the season on the non-football injury list after having offseason surgery on a herniated disc. Jernigan was activated to the main roster in Week 12 but he only played limited snaps against the Giants before then having back spasms flare up on him. Did Jernigan return too soon?
Originally unbeknownst to fans, Hollins had offseason surgery on his groin. This report came out after he failed to impress during offseason practices. Hollins didn’t miss much practice time at first. He even played 25 snaps in the Eagles’ first preseason game. But then he started to miss time and he was ultimately placed on injured reserve prior to Week 1. Just seemed like Hollins’ situation developed unusually.
Among the most injured teams
The Eagles have both the fourth most amount of cap space AND total cash on injured reserve this season, per Spotrac. Only the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Jacksonville Jaguars have more.
After being the healthiest team in terms of adjusted games lost from 2013-2016, the Eagles are now in the bottom 10 and trending downward.
I think it’s easy to look at all of this and say: “Fire the Eagles’ medical staff!”
Maybe that’s the solution. Maybe it’s not.
The reality is we don’t have the answers. But the questions must be raised.
Mistakes happen. But potentially putting the franchise quarterback’s health in jeopardy is unacceptable and must be avoided at all cost.
The Eagles need to seriously evaluate their medical staff.