Glass Almost Empty: Leonard Weaver's Return to Field Termed Remote

Glass Almost Empty: Leonard Weaver's Return to Field Termed Remote

Even more than the replay on Lincoln Financial Field's 96.5 x 26.5 foot video boards, and the subsequent replays that followed on TV and YouTube all week long after, what I can't get out of my mind about Leonard Weaver's horrific injury is the sound. Never have nearly 70,000 people groaned in such unison the way they did after watching the replay of a Weaver's leg, well... it's Friday, let's leave it at that.

We haven't talked about it much, as it was somewhat forgotten amid the sea of injuries the Eagles navigated in 2010, but when you see something like that, you have to question whether the man will ever play football again. Weaver has insisted he will, but CSN's Reuben Frank is reporting a source says that would be unlikely.

Frank's story revealed Weaver recently underwent his third surgery since suffering the injury, laying out the details of his most recent operation and why there is skepticism he'll play football again. It's a long road, to say the least.

So looking at it from a personnel standpoint, where does that leave the Eagles in 2011, assuming Weaver isn't an option?

On one hand, Owen Schmitt was a pleasant surprise in his stead. He's not as dynamic as Weave in the open field, but is still capable of carrying the football or catching passes, and gets the job done as a blocker as well. Schmitt also spent several years in the West Coast offense with the Seattle, so he's well versed in the system.

Then again, there's no accounting for the drop off between an All Pro and the guy who was still waiting for a team to call in September. Even at the fullback position, where its relevance is questionable in a league increasingly focused on throwing the ball, it's a major blow. It's one less playmaker at the offense's disposal.

With there not being many great fullbacks floating around the NFL, chances are they can't replace that. The Eagles will likely bring in some competition this summer, but Schmitt could conceivably be back with the Birds in 2011.

In the grand scheme however, it's obviously more important Weaver gets healthy to live a simple, everyday life. It seems even that much has been a tall order, but Weave continues to keep his spirits high throughout the ordeal, and it sounds like serious progress is being made.

>> Source: Eagles' Weaver chance of return 'remote' [CSN]

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."