Nnamdi Asomughas scary knee injury turned out to be not as serious as it looked, and although the four-time all-pro cornerback is said to be sore, his knee has no structural damage, a league source said Thursday.
Although the Eagles can breathe a sigh of relief that Asomugha did not suffer a season-ending injury, his status for the Eagles crucial game against Tom Brady and the Patriots remains unknown. The Eagles and Patriots meet at 4:15 p.m. Sunday at the Linc.
Asomugha crumpled to the ground with a frightening left knee injury during a non-contact drill during a morning Thanksgiving Day practice Thursday on the grass fields adjacent to the NovaCare Complex.
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The 30-year-old long-time Oakland Raider had to be assisted to his feet, helped into a cart and taken back into the teams facility.
The Eagles had no comment on the injury. They simply listed Asomugha as limited on their official injury report, since he did participate in the first hour or so of practice. Head coach Andy Reid is scheduled to meet with the media on Friday morning.
Earlier Thursday, cornerback Joselio Hanson said word around the locker room was that the injury was not believed to be serious.
I think hes going to come out and practice tomorrow, I hope so, Hanson said. I talked to some people, and they said it may not have been as bad as it looked, so Im hoping for the best.
Asomughas teammates were surprised at the injury, since it came on a play in which Asomugha didnt have contact with other players, and it occurred on the strong footing of the grass practice fields.
Its painful to see, safety Kurt Coleman said. You never want to see a teammate go down, especially when its your lower body. But hopefully hell be back soon.
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie already out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain, the Eagles would have four healthy corners if Asomugha is unable to play against the Patriots -- starter Asante Samuel, plus Hanson, Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes.
Hughes said he expects to start Sunday if Asomugha is unable to play in three days against New England.
Thats why we have six corners, Hughes said. If one guy goes down, another guy steps up, and they expect us to do our job the same way they expect Nnamdi, Asante or whoevers in to do their job. At the end of the day, we have quality guys here who can come in. Curtis will probably get an opportunity also.
Hughes, a fifth-round draft pick of the Chargers in 2009, spent last year on the Giants practice squad and has played in nine games on special teams this year.
Its an opportunity, Hughes said. Hopefully hes all right, but if hes out I have to go in there and do what I do.
When a guy goes down, you wonder whats wrong with him and go to the next play and hopefully hes OK. If not, its an opportunity and you have to take it and run with it.
Hughes, 25, is certainly not lacking in confidence.
Very prepared, he said. Ive been here since preseason, been working in, just waiting for an opportunity, and thats the nature of the business. If he is hurt, then another guy has to step in, whether its me or somebody else. I feel good about the game plan. I feel good about what I can do.
Marsh, the only Eagles third-round pick still in the organization, would likely play in some situations if Asomugha is unable to play Sunday.
Hopefully, its just minor, Marsh said. But I feel very ready. Every week, Ive been preparing as if Im going to play, as if Im going to be in the game plan. I stay focused, Im in the meetings every day, and I feel good about it. I feel like Im prepared and Ill be able to step in.
Marsh said hes tried to absorb as much information and knowledge as possible just from watching the Eagles three Pro Bowl corners in meetings, in games and at practice.
It helps tremendously, he said. Its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Some of the things these guys know is more than any coach would know because theyre out there doing it and theyre in the prime of their career. What they do every day is priceless information and I just try to take it all in. Im very blessed to have that opportunity.
Marsh and Hughes both made the final roster out of training camp ahead of Trevard Lindley, the Eagles fourth-round pick last year.
Those guys are good cornerbacks, Coleman said. Brandon was already going to be in the mix, hes looking really good, hes really coming into his own. And Curtis is athletic and fast, and he can run with any wide receiver.
Since the Eagles like keeping Hanson in his nickel slot role, Hughes would likely get his first NFL start if Asomugha cant go Sunday.
Asomugha, who signed a five-year, 60 million contract during training camp, has a team-high three interceptions in 10 games.
Weve got to stick to the game plan. Nnamdis definitely a big piece of what we do on defense, but we have guys we can rotate in, guys who can do similar things. Everybody has to step up their game if he cant go. Everybody has to pick up the slack.
E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com