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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.

Kennett Square's Jack Regenye makes catch-of-the-year at Junior League World Series

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USA Today Images

Kennett Square's Jack Regenye makes catch-of-the-year at Junior League World Series

Sunday gave us the catch-of-the-year. And it didn't come from MLB, or the minors, but from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania's Jack Regenye in the Junior League World Series.

Just take a look at this. Then watch it again and again, trying to figure out how this is possible. 

After being initially ruled an out, the umps reversed the call, calling it a home run. After more deliberation, it was finally ruled an out because rules be damned, when a catch is that good, you have to count it.

Regenye's Junior League team (ages 13-14) went on to lose to Chinese Taipei, 12-1. 

With Odubel Herrera on the DL, maybe the Phils should give Regenye a call.

Eagles' latest Achilles heel emerges in preseason

Eagles' latest Achilles heel emerges in preseason

Right when the Eagles get finished plugging one potential hole, another springs up.

For months, cornerback was considered by far the greatest weakness on the Eagles' roster, but Howie Roseman appears to have taken care of that with the trade for Ronald Darby. Now, all of a sudden, the Eagles' secondary has the potential to be a strength in 2017.

Yet, just as the plan at corner is beginning to take shape, another concern is emerging halfway through the preseason, at a position many fans thought Roseman solidified in May. Running back looks like it could quickly become a serious problem for the Eagles if it hasn’t reached that point already.

It’s only preseason, and the offensive line hasn’t done him any favors, but LeGarrette Blount has nine carries for 17 yards with a fumble in two games. Fifth-round draft pick Donnel Pumphrey – who the coaching staff seemed enamored with this spring — has 14 total touches for 34 yards. After a strong start at training camp, Wendell Smallwood has yet to play in an exhibition game due to a hamstring injury. And by now, everybody is aware 34-year-old Darren Sproles isn’t an every-down back.

The best any running back has looked in exhibition games is undrafted rookie Corey Clement, by far. Whether that’s a testament to his development or a commentary on the state of the backfield is a matter of perspective.

Regardless, you could’ve seen this mess coming from a mile away.

The Blount signing was met with tremendous enthusiasm when it really should’ve been met with tremendous skepticism. Though he rushed for 1,161 yards and led the NFL with 18 touchdowns in 2016, Blount averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, sat by in free agency as the Patriots moved to replace him, and turns 31 in December. He’s never been a threat as a receiver, and even his gaudy numbers last season with the Super Bowl champions were an outlier compared to the rest of his career.

The reality is Blount is not a mortal lock to make the Eagles' roster. He likely will, because he still has value in short yardage and at the goal line, and most of all, because the competition hasn’t made enough of a push. However, releasing Blount would only cost the Eagles $400,000 against the salary cap, according to OverTheCap.com, while his age and the limitations of his skill set are worth reiterating.

The question is what then?

While the Eagles have toyed with getting Pumphrey and Sproles on the field at the same time, projections as to how prevalent those designer packages would be always felt ambitious as well. Listed at 5-foot-9, 176 pounds, Pumphrey has not looked like an NFL-ready player through two games. Even if he is ready to contribute, that is not an offense designed with running the football in mind.

The Eagles’ ability to let Blount go would seem to hinge almost solely on Smallwood. Of course, it was an unwillingness to rely on a second-year player with 83 touches that caused the club to seek veteran help in the first place.

Smallwood is not an unimpressive prospect. A fifth-round draft pick from West Virginia a year ago, Smallwood has the size and athletic ability to handle the bulk of the work. He was running with authority in camp. He simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy, which is his biggest shortcoming at this point, aside from inexperience. It’s impossible to tell whether Smallwood is in line to finish with the most touches in this backfield (regardless of Blount’s presence) or if he’s fighting for his job.

Clement is the bright spot in all of this and arrives as a more polished pass protector than Smallwood was as a rookie. Seeing as inexperience was one of the primary reasons the Eagles weren’t willing to entrust Smallwood as the primary ball carrier, it’s difficult to imagine Clement could be the guy the in September.

Again, some of the culpability for Blount’s struggles falls on the offensive line. Some. Blount’s last season in New England was far from the norm, and for most of his eight-year career, he’s been purely a situational player. Even under optimal circumstances, expecting him to recreate last season’s numbers, or come close, never made much sense.

And while it would be easy to chalk up the pitiful ground attack as a symptom of the preseason, the fact is these games have exposed a problem that’s been lurking beneath the surface. Blount is old and not an ideal fit for the Eagles' offense. Pumphrey is an undersized rookie. Sproles is Sproles. Smallwood is a mystery.

Up until a week ago, everybody was worried about the cornerbacks. Before that, it was the wide receivers, until the Eagles made significant investments in talent over the offseason. All along, there’s been an underrated need at running back, or at the very least, an uncertainty.

Try as he might, Roseman can’t seem to find a solution for every hole on the roster — and it’s beginning to look like running back is the spot the Eagles might spring a leak.