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?

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).