Jason Kelce suffered a torn ACL and partially torn MCL during a game last September against the Ravens. (USA Today Images)
Jason Kelce hasn’t played football in nearly a year, and he expected days like Friday to happen.
Kelce, who underwent knee surgery last fall and missed almost the entire 2012 season, skipped several drills with the first offense at practice Friday because of what he described as muscle fatigue.
He said it’s normal for athletes coming back from the type of surgery he had and expects to be back at practice when the Eagles get back to work Sunday, and he expects to play in the preseason opener against the Patriots.
“The biggest thing with me right now is still trying to work my muscles into football shape because I’ve been out for so long,” Kelce said.
“We’ve been noticing the last few days that the muscle’s been fatigued and today was probably a little bit more noticable, so they wanted to back down on my reps and get me going so I’ll be ready for the preseason game.”
The Eagles open the 2013 preseason on Friday at the Linc against the Patriots.
Kelce, the Eagles’ starting center in 2011, suffered a torn ACL and partially torn MCL during a game last September against the Ravens. He underwent surgery in October and has been practicing every day so far in training camp.
“I’m dealing with normal rehab stuff for patella graft and ACL reconstructions,” he said.
Head coach Chip Kelly said he’s not concerned about Kelce.
“Yeah, I think Jason is fine,” Kelly said. “I think sometimes he just needs a little bit of rest in terms of what he’s doing. But I don’t think there’s any issues. … I don’t think there is anything [serious].”
The Eagles are off Saturday, and Kelce said he expects to be a full participant when they return to work on Sunday.
“It’s kind of like an as-we-go type deal,” he said. “I went out today expecting to fully practice, but after we did the run period, it just kind of didn’t feel very right, so let’s back down on it today so you’re ready to go tomorrow.”
Dallas Reynolds, the starter last year, and Julian Vandervelde, who had two stints on the Eagles’ practice squad last year (and one on the Bucs’ practice squad), split the first-team reps when Kelce was on the sideline.
“Every once in a while he’ll not take a team period just as we get him back,” Kelly said. “It’s a matter more of the muscle getting what it needs in terms of the injury itself.”
Kelce does not appear on the Eagles’ official injury list.
Play of the day
Rookie wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah lunged to reel in a deep ball down the right sideline from Michael Vick during team drills with Trevard Lindley in coverage.
Jason Peters sat out again with a minor hamstring injury, but he watched practice in shorts and is expected back soon.
DeSean Jackson, who left early on Thursday with a minor toe injury, returned to practice.
Also out Friday: wide receiver Arrelious Benn (knee), tight end Derek Carrier (shoulder), defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (hamstring), offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (back), cornerback Bradley Fletcher (groin), offensive tackle Ed Wang (knee) and Brandon Hughes (hamstring) also sat out.
Drexel basketball coach Bruiser Flint and his staff were guests of the Eagles at practice on Friday.
The Eagles are off Saturday and return to practice on Sunday at the NovaCare Complex. Monday’s workout at the Linc is open to fans. The Eagles will practice Tuesday and Wednesday next week at the NovaCare Complex with the Patriots.
Free tickets for Monday’s practice at the Linc are available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
Tickets also remain for the open practices at the Linc on Aug. 11, Aug. 17 and Aug. 26, although only a few thousand tickets remain for Aug. 12.