Does the Sixers' injury reporting really matter?

Does the Sixers' injury reporting really matter?

When the Sixers finally revealed Joel Embiid had a "slight" tear of his meniscus, I wasn't surprised. After he suited up for only one game over the previous three weeks, it was reasonable to assume whatever the 22-year-old was dealing with was a little more significant than a "bruised knee."

What I wasn't really prepared for was the reaction to the news (although you'd think I would know what was coming by now). Apparently, the Sixers' lack of transparency with regard to Embiid is some kind of travesty, as if never before in the history of sports has a club attempted to cover up an injury.

Keep in mind, it's not like Embiid requires surgery. A torn meniscus should not be career threatening. There's no evidence the injury is in any way directly related to the foot injury that kept him out for two full seasons. And based on the decision to allow him to play in a nationally televised game against the Rockets just one week after receiving the diagnosis, Embiid presumably would be on the floor for the Sixers if they were, say, in the NBA Finals right now.

Embiid is hurt. Enough to keep him out of action for the better part of a month, which might seem major — yet even then, how much of that is because the Sixers are being overly precautious with one of their most precious assets? Regardless, how does knowing it's a meniscus and not a bone bruise honestly change things for the public?

Other than perception, maybe, it doesn't. Embiid is out until further notice. Whether it's a meniscus, a bruise or a stubbed toe, he's returning at the same time — whenever the Sixers say he is.

Was it messed up for Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo to claim he was being completely forthright one day before the story about Embiid's meniscus came out? Sure. He was caught in a lie, and no one likes a liar.

But what difference would it have made if Colangelo disclosed the exact nature of Embiid's injury from the very beginning? Would it alter the timetable for his return, which to the best of my knowledge is week-to-week? Better yet, would it speed up the recovery time? Please enlighten me, outside of avoiding a public relations nightmare, what do the Sixers or their fans truly gain from being forthright here?

The one thing that's clear is Embiid's health is prioritized above all else. While he was out all of last season to have a second operation on his foot, the Sixers became a national embarrassment, nearly setting an NBA record for ineptitude. The previous general manager, Sam Hinkie, essentially lost his job because of the patience the organization showed with the recovery. Even in 2017, Embiid is on a minutes and games restriction that many armchair doctors deem unnecessary, and it's probably cost the team wins.

Whatever specifically is wrong with Embiid's knee or any other part of his body, you can believe the Sixers are doing whatever it takes to get it right, no matter how long it takes.

Granted, I'm not entirely sure what the Sixers have to gain by hiding information about Embiid's injury from the public. Maybe they're worried that intel gives opponents a competitive advantage. Maybe the concern is it will affect ticket sales.

Maybe it's an issue of perception. Bone bruise doesn't stoke fears quite like a torn meniscus, which often does require surgery. This tremendous, young athlete has already missed two full seasons and is injured again despite having his playing time seriously monitored and restricted, which can be kind of scary. The Sixers might prefer their handling of Embiid's health isn't questioned, either.

Whatever the case, the front office didn't feel the need to share, and in this particular instance, I don't much care. While it might set a bad precedent, our town's excellent sports media getting to the bottom of this story should make Colangelo think twice about trying to pull a fast one again.

Yet nothing else has changed since we learned the details about Embiid's injury. There was no meaningfully different treatment we weren't aware of. His outlook for making a full recovery hasn't changed.

Embiid is still out, and not returning any sooner or later than before, so just wake me when he gets back.

Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles? The odds aren't in their favor

Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles? The odds aren't in their favor

The Eagles are going to add a productive, veteran wide receiver in free agency, or at least they should — they need to. Yet if you're expecting the organization to make a big splash and sign Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery, you may not want to get your hopes up.

While an earlier report did loosely connect the Eagles to Jeffery, who's widely considered the best receiver headed to the market, the odds aren't in the club's favor. One prop bet set by BookMaker.eu has the 2013 Pro Bowler at 3/2 to return to Chicago, the overwhelming favorite among the teams believed to be in the hunt.

The Eagles come in with the next best odds at landing Jeffery, but by a wide margin: 9/1. The full list can be seen below.

Alshon Jeffery team in Week 1 of 2017-18 regular season

Chicago Bears +150
Philadelphia Eagles +900
San Francisco 49ers +1400
Tennessee Titans +1500
Miami Dolphins +2000
Baltimore Ravens +2500
Field -105

As you can see, the best odds are still on Jeffery to wind up anywhere but the Bears, so that may provide some solace to Eagles fans who choose to remain hopeful. Then again, the field is only a slim favorite here, which speaks to strong confidence in Chicago retaining.

That means the Eagles could be left to choose from a number of slightly lesser receivers in free agency, albeit there are some quality players heading to the market. Although, once people start to hear what some of those guys could cost — a deeper look into that here — that may only increase the clamoring for Jeffery.

The Eagles will no doubt look into Jeffery when free agency opens this March, but the odds seem to signal the Bears may not be willing to be outbid on a homegrown talent and arguably their only legitimate star.

Eagles DC Jim Schwartz's handling of Eric Rowe a monumental blunder

Eagles DC Jim Schwartz's handling of Eric Rowe a monumental blunder

Remember that time Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz thought Leodis McKelvin was a better NFL cornerback than Eric Rowe?

Let's clear something up right away: Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was absolutely correct to trade Rowe to the Patriots for a conditional fourth-round draft pick. It was the right move because Schwartz wasn't going to let the kid see the field. Barring an injury to another player, Rowe wasn't even going to be active on game day. From a GM's point of view, all keeping him on the roster would've accomplished was further diminish his value to a potential suitor.

Where this whole situation gets bungled is when Schwartz determined, seemingly very early into his tenure with the Eagles that began last year, Rowe simply wasn't going to play for him. The club signed McKelvin, signed Ron Brooks, re-signed Nolan Carroll, then drafted Jalen Mills, all no doubt under heavy influence from the defensive coordinator — especially McKelvin and Brooks, who played for Schwartz for one season in Buffalo.

Now, there's nothing wrong with a new coach asking for some of "his" guys, people who know the scheme and bring a certain level of comfort to the equation. The problem is when one of those guys is 31 years old and was never particularly good to begin with, and said coach insists on that person playing a large role, without so much as the appearance of a legitimate competition.

We watched when the Eagles opened OTAs with McKelvin and Brooks as starting cornerbacks, assuming their knowledge of Schwartz's system made them natural choices in April. We watched as Mills, a seventh-round pick, saw his opportunities increase while Rowe lagged behind on the depth chart, figuring they were pushing the second-year player. We watched in training camp as Carroll — finally recovered from an ankle injury — was added to the mix at the top of the depth chart, and still there was nary a sign of Rowe. We even watched undrafted rookie C.J. Smith start an exhibition game, and less than two weeks later, Rowe is on the field for almost the entirety of the preseason finale, typically an audition for players who are about to be released.

So Roseman traded Rowe, a 24-year-old defensive back the Eagles chose 47th overall only 16 months earlier. You already have some idea of how that worked out — Rowe earned a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots, while McKelvin was released on Wednesday — but let's look at the numbers.

According to Pro Football Focus, Rowe ranked seventh out of 109 cornerbacks with 61.9 opponents' passer rating when targeted in coverage (minimum 25 percent of regular season/postseason snaps). McKelvin ranked 97th with a 113.0 opponents' passer rating.

It's not even close. We can talk about the differences in schemes between the two teams, supporting cast, quality of opponents, you name it. We can discuss experience, mentality, locker room presence, whatever.

There is absolutely no situation, no world where McKelvin was a better option than Rowe.

How on earth did Schwartz manage to make such a woefully wrong evaluation? McKelvin wasn't a starter for most of his nine-year NFL career before he joined the Eagles — he was benched and later moved to safety during his final season with the Bills. He's also seven years older and three inches shorter than Rowe, which would seem a distinct advantage in terms of pure physical ability. Honestly, what did Schwartz see that laypeople did not? Because the ugly end result was nothing less than what was predicted.

Rowe appears to be developing into a fine NFL cornerback, McKelvin is likely one more shoddy season away from forced retirement, and the Eagles are left with a mess at the cornerback position. Don't blame this one on Roseman, either. All he did was what Schwartz desired.

If nothing else, the defensive coordinator probably deserves to lose some of his sway in personnel decisions. Signing a one-year stopgap at the expense of a promising, young talent like Rowe might turn out to be a catastrophic setback, and for once, everybody knows exactly where to point the finger.