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.

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

The Sixers finished in the basement of the NBA standings last season with a league-low 10 wins. But with the influx of young talent and addition of a couple veterans to the roster, the Las Vegas oddsmakers are betting on the Sixers to make some strides upward in the 2016-17 standings.  

Last week, the WestGate Superbook in Las Vegas set the Sixers' over/under for wins this season at an optimistic 27½, which was the fourth-lowest projection in the league.

Similarly, while Bovada is projecting another season of basketball filled with mostly losses in Philadelphia, the sportsbook doesn't view the Sixers as a shoo-in to finish as the league's worst team for the second consecutive year.

Per Bovada, the Sixers have the fourth-longest odds (125/1) to capture the Atlantic Divison title for the first time since 2001-02, beating out the Nets (250/1) by a considerable margin.

The favorite to win the division is the Celtics at 20/21, trailed closely by the defending division champion Raptors (21/20). The Knicks are between the Raptors and Sixers at 10/1.

The Sixers (150/1) also edged out the Nets (200/1) in odds to win the Eastern Conference championship. The two teams in the conference directly ahead of the Sixers in that futures bet are the Hornets (100/1) and Magic (50/1).

The Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference at 5/11, followed by the Celtics (5/1) and Raptors (14/1).

Least surprising of all futures odds, Bovada has the Sixers tied with four other teams for the longest odds to win the NBA title. The Nuggets, Kings, Nets and Suns were tied with the Sixers at 500/1 odds to win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The early favorites to win it all are the same two teams that met in the 2016 Finals. The Warriors are alone at top with the shortest odds at 4/5 trailed by the Cavaliers at 3/1.

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

ATLANTA — The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves — No. 157 of 162 — ranked last in the majors in runs scored (591) and were hanging out near the bottom in a slew of other important offensive categories.
 
The stat sheet says the Phillies need more offense.
 
So does the manager.
 
Pete Mackanin plans to make his case for adding a bat this winter — the best fit would be in the outfield — in an end-of-season meeting with the front office Friday at Citizens Bank Park.
 
“Basically, having talked to the rest of the coaching staff, we’re all pretty much in agreement with what our needs are,” Mackanin said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m anxious to hear from (general manager) Matt Klentak and from (president) Andy MacPhail and if there’s an owner there. We’d like to hear what they have to say. We’re pretty much in agreement on a lot of what we need.
 
“I, for one, think we need at least one hitter that gives you quality at-bats.”
 
There could be hurdles in adding a bat. Money is not one of them. All of the team’s big contracts will be gone when Ryan Howard rides off into the sunset on Sunday. The team that spent over a half-billion in salaries from 2012 to 2014 (and missed the playoffs each time) has plenty of money and has vowed to spend it in due time. But that time might not arrive until team leaders believe the club has built a nucleus that would benefit from the signing of a "finishing" talent or two. The team is committed to building that nucleus from within, and there lies the potential hurdle in adding the difference-making bat that Mackanin craves. Building from within requires eventually giving players from the system an opportunity to prove themselves and grow at the major-league level. The front office, still very much committed to a rebuild, will be cognizant of blocking those players (the list includes Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens and others) and their opportunities. Klentak has said as much on several occasions this year.
 
Even Mackanin acknowledged that the situation is a Catch-22.
 
“I know I don’t want to block a prospect that has a chance to be a big part of it,” he said.
 
“But at the same time, I think by having one guy in the middle of the lineup or somewhere in the lineup that can take a little pressure off (Maikel) Franco and (Odubel) Herrera and the rest of them could do wonders. You look at when (Matt) Kemp joined the Braves. They all went off. They’re all hitting. They’ve scored more runs than anybody, I think, since the All-Star break. Last year, with (Yoenis) Cespedes, he joined the Mets and all of a sudden they all started hitting.
 
“I will give those examples. I feel that’s important.”
 
A number of outfield bats will be on the free-agent market this winter. Cespedes could be there if he opts out of his contract with the Mets, but he’s not likely to be interested in joining a rebuilding team and the Phillies are unlikely to want the long-term commitment a player like that would require. Dexter Fowler and Matt Holliday could be free agents if their options for 2017 are not exercised. Ian Desmond will be out there, but the Rangers will probably look to retain him. Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Colby Rasmus will also be out there. Martin Prado is the type of “professional hitter” that would appeal to Mackanin, but he agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.