Is There Really a Chance Jason Peters Could Return This Year?

Is There Really a Chance Jason Peters Could Return This Year?

It's only October, but four weeks into the season it sure looks like the injury to Jason Peters is something the Eagles may never quite fully overcome in 2012. Pass protection and running to the left have been issues, and they've already flip-flopped Demetress Bell for King Dunlap at left tackle, then back again.

But Peters looms in the shadows of the non-football injury list, eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster between Weeks 6 and 9. As impossible as that prospect might sound, both Peters and Andy Reid seem to believe he could still make it back in time to contribute this season.

Peters ruptured his Achilles' during a private workout back in March, then again only weeks later in a bizarre accident involving a Roll-A-Bout. Yet just six months after his second surgery to have the tendon repaired, Les Bowen of the Daily News tells us the All-Pro is eying a return.

"I'm running, doing everything," Peters said, pausing briefly as he walked from the locker room to a training room. Asked if he has realistic hopes of playing this season, Peters said, "yeah."

Asked about a timetable for his return, Peters said there isn't one. "I'm taking it day by day," he said.

On Wednesday, Reuben Frank proposed the timetable could be the playoffs, perhaps in part thanks to a new rule. If Peters isn't quite ready for action by Week 9, Frank suggests the Eagles move him directly from non-football injury to short-term IR, a once-per-season exemption which a player can return from six weeks later. That would be just in time for the playoffs, by the way.

If you think this is only reporters fueling speculation, that's not entirely true either. It's telling the Eagles didn't put him on injured reserve when the season began, and Andy Reid hasn't ruled anything out, either.

"He’s healing fast," head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. "He’s making progress."

Yet you do have to wonder. Because Reid won't publicly dismiss the possibility Peters could come back this year doesn't mean it's anything he's actually depending on. And while the recovery period from these types of major surgeries is getting shorter all time (take for example Ryan Howard making a run at Opening Day six months after his) that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be operating anywhere close to 100% (and when Howard finally came back in July, he still had that ugly hitch in his step).

So it's probably best to continue viewing Peters as a longshot for this season, as it was termed back at the beginning of training camp. There is no doubt his presence has been missed, but expecting him not only to play this season -- not to mention at anything resembling the level we've become accustomed -- seems a bit desperate. Then again, another month or two down the road, and maybe the Eagles are desperate.

Flyers-Stars 5 things: Streaking like it's 2002?

Flyers-Stars 5 things: Streaking like it's 2002?

Flyers (16-10-3) vs. Stars (11-11-6)
1 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

Remember when it was a fight for the Flyers to simply sew together back-to-back wins?

Prior to this run, they had done it just twice in the first 22 games.

Now, they’re the hottest team in the NHL, winners of seven straight and trying to make it eight on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things you need to know for the matchup:

1. The great eight?
Jeremy Roenick, Mark Recchi, John LeClair and Eric Desjardins.

Roman Cechmanek and Brian Boucher.

These are just some of the players that were wearing Flyers jerseys when the team last won eight consecutive games, back on Jan. 6-19, 2002.

It’s worth mentioning, before the 2004-05 season, winning streaks were a bit more challenging with a tie being the result if overtime went scoreless. The extra session was also not 3-on-3, like it is now.

Still, what the current Flyers are doing is impressive. They’ve gone to the shootout only once over the seven-game spurt and have outscored the opposition by 10 goals, 27-17.

2. Raffl winners
Dave Hakstol has called Michael Raffl a big-bodied, straight-line forward, which is certainly not off the mark.

But from time to time, Raffl will show the deceptive skill side of his game.

He did it Thursday night to win the Flyers’ 6-5 affair over the Oilers in the final minute and a half of regulation for his second game-winner over the last three contests.

"Raf has this stutter step that's undercover speedy," Steve Mason said postgame Thursday (see story). "He used it in Nashville to get a big goal and then here tonight.

"It looks like he's going to stop fully up, but he finds another gear and he really adds another element to that line that brings physical play.

"He has that sneaky talent, too, that can make you pay."

Raffl is quietly making teams pay. The Flyers are 4-0-2 in games that he scores a goal. Despite missing eight games because of injury, the 28-year-old Austrian is on pace for around 20 goals.

That’s much-valued secondary scoring and complementary play.

3. Not so bright
Before reeling off seven straight wins, the Flyers were in a similar spot to which the Stars are in now.

Dallas, which finished 50-23-9 last season — best in the Western Conference — after starting 19-5-0, can’t find consistency through 28 games this season. The Stars have won back-to-back games just once thus far and goaltending has been an issue as Dallas is surrendering an NHL-worst 3.18 goals per game.

The Stars do not lack offensive firepower, however. Center Tyler Seguin is tied for second in the NHL with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists), while linemate Jamie Benn isn’t far behind at 24 (eight goals, 16 assists).

Also, veteran forward Jason Spezza is coming off a three-point game (one goal, two assists) in Dallas’ 5-2 win over the Predators.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: We’ve got to go Jakub Voracek after the winger’s one-goal, three-assist performance on Thursday night. Voracek has been an absolute monster on the seven-game winning streak, posting 11 points with three goals and eight assists for a plus-6 rating.

Stars: It’s hard not to say Seguin, a dynamic player who always gives the Flyers trouble. His 21 career points (nine goals, 12 assists) against the orange and black are his second most versus any team.

5. This and that
• Mason is on a career-best six-game winning streak in which he’s posted a 2.27 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. Since Nov. 12, Mason is 9-3-1 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

• Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen is a dreadful 1-10-3 lifetime against the Flyers with a 3.49 goals-against average and .891 save percentage, while backup Antti Niemi is 4-1-0 with 1.48 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

• Dallas has won its last three meetings with the Flyers by a combined score of 7-3.

• The Stars have lost 11 of 15 on the road.

• Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last four games.

Penn State fan surprised with Rose Bowl tickets in heartwarming video

Penn State fan surprised with Rose Bowl tickets in heartwarming video

It's been a long road back to relevance for the Penn State football program. 

The Nittany Lions surprised just about everyone this season by finishing 10-2, winning the Big Ten title and claiming a spot in the historic Rose Bowl against USC on Jan. 2. 

For one fan, the surprise season went one step further.

Per ESPN's Instagram account ...

But wait, there's more. 

Not only was he surprised with Rose Bowl tickets in what could be the most touching video of the year, but he even got a personal call from Penn State head coach James Franklin thanking him for his support. 

Not a bad way to close out 2016.