Brian Westbrook will be out indefinitely following this Friday's scheduled procedure to have bone spurs removed from his ankle. Westbrook noticed the strong pain in his ankle after completing the Philadelphia Eagles' rookie and mandatory mini camps. He has not practiced in the recent OTAs.
The area is described as needing to be cleaned out. Westbrook is not expected to return until well into training camp at the earliest.
I don't even want to think about this, but what do we do now? And what does this mean for the season?
Well, it means we keep more running backs on the roster than we otherwise would have for a little while longer at least.
Lorenzo Booker now looks like a really good option as another plug-and-play, receiving-type, speed back that head coach Andy Reid could put on the field to spell rookie LeSean McCoy in camp and maybe early 2009 season.
Booker has potential at least.
Free-agent long-shots Eldra Buckley, Walter Mendenhall, and Marcus Thigpen will also get more work and looks and will have an opportunity to stay on this team for a little while longer, if nothing else.
One of these free agents could quite possibly see the field in the 2009 regular season.
Leonard Weaver would also figure to get more looks as a running back in camp, preseason and possibly some of the regular season. Weaver has the best NFL experience and would actually play really well in Reid's running back role.
Of course, McCoy figures to bear the burden of the Westbrook injury. He will get a lot of work, starting now. McCoy's immediate future will include more carries in practice, more practice, more studying.
We will find out what kind of player McCoy is very soon.
I don't think it's likely, but the Eagles may be tempted to bring in a veteran from the free-agent market. If the situation gets worse, the idea becomes more realistic.
Recently released Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington would be interesting to look at if it had to go that way.
Ahman Green, Warrick Dunn, Deuce McCallister, Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry, Michael Pittman, and Aaron Stecker are all still emergency free-agent options as well.
Even when Westbrook does return, I would expect him to carry half of the workload he might normally carry. He must show his ankle and knee are in a condition to support a high level of play without exposure to more injury.
If he comes back prematurely, he could miss the entire season.
Our thoughts are with you, B-West. Get well.