The Eagles are in ridiculously good health

The Eagles are in ridiculously good health

Yeah, yeah, we’re jinxing them. Now that we got that out of the way, you really have to marvel at how bare the Philadelphia Eagles injury report is for this time of year.

As the Birds prepare for Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, just four players make the report. Starting safety Earl Wolff (knee) and special teamer Najee Goode (hamstring) are listed as doubtful, although both are getting closer to playing and have an outside shot at suiting in the upcoming game. Cornerbacks Brandon Boykin (hip) and Cary Williams (hamstring) are both probable.

That’s it. That’s the entire report.

Weird. That’s actually longer than usual.

Other than a few dings here and there, the Eagles have been extremely fortunate when it comes to avoiding injuries this season. All five players on injured reserve landed there in training camp. The only starters on the 53-man roster to miss games this season are Nick Foles, Mychal Kendricks, Bradley Fletcher, and Wolff.

There’s no denying that health has been a big factor in the Eagles’ success this season. While the Birds have suffered relatively few injuries themselves, they’ve run into some opponents who were without star players. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers going down for Green Bay comes to mind, as does running back Reggie Bush for the Detroit Lions this past Sunday. This week, it’s possible if not likely the Vikings will be without reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Adrian Peterson.

What’s the Eagles' secret? Some might say it’s the sports science program Chip Kelly brought to the organization, and there’s probably something to that to a degree. These players to a man will probably all say they’re in the best shape of their lives, although that doesn’t necessarily help one avoid injuries.

Chip agrees, to an extent. A few months back, reporters asked the head coach what the science has been behind keeping players on the field, and while he admitted it helps, Kelly acknowledged some things you just can’t avoid. Via PFT:

“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Kelly said, via ESPN.com, “but I think part of what our sports science aspect of things is, is to make sure that time lost is the biggest thing you’re trying to prevent. Just the little things: are we getting enough sleep, eating the right way, doing the other things. That contributes to it.”

“We don’t do that just for the sake of doing it,” Kelly said. “We do that because we think there’s a benefit to it. Obviously, the big issues you look at are the soft tissue injures, because those are preventable. If someone breaks a leg, someone breaks a leg. There’s not much from a sports science standpoint or preparation standpoint that goes into the prevention of breaking a bone.”

Of course, while the Eagles have been fortunate throughout the season, they did lose a key cog in Jeremy Maclin to a torn ACL back in camp. Imagine what the league’s third-ranked offense would look like had that not happened.

The Eagles have been able to avoid any more major injuries since then though, and now have very few at all during the most important stretch of the season. It’s helped propel them to an 8-5 record and likely playoff team.

Now say a prayer, keep your fingers crossed, and don’t drive your car too close to the sidewalk near the NovaCare Complex. Hey, what’s the ladder doing in front of the entrance?

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).