By Chris Murray
For the Sunday Sun and The CM Report
By all accounts from players and coaches, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who sustained a concussion in Sunday night’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, appeared to be okay going through film sessions and the team’s Wednesday morning walk-through of the game plan.
All that said, it is still uncertain whether Vick will be under center for Sunday’s home opener against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. In fact, he did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Team trainer Rick Burkholder said while Vick is not displaying any visible symptoms of a concussion other than a sore neck and a sore jaw, there are still several tests Vick has to undergo to make sure he is able to play on day.
Accoring to Burkholder, Vick is being evaluated for how he interacts in meetings and how he deals with physical exertion and balance. He said everyone from head coach Andy Reid to this teammates and team doctors are observing Vick his how interacts with people on a daily basis.
“I’ll you right now he’s right in the middle of the process right where we expected him to be and everything is progressing,” Burkholder said. “We’re not going to push him ahead of where we think the process goes. We’re not going to judge it right now. … He’s doing fine right now.”
Burkholder said Vick had an MRI of his brain on Monday that came up negative. He said Vick will be examined by an independent neurologist and the team’s doctors later this week before he can be cleared to play.
“Just because he doesn’t have symptoms today doesn’t mean that he doesn’t wake up with symptoms tomorrow,” Burkholder said. “That’s the process throughout the league and the process with anybody. I don’t ancitpate that (Vick developing concussion symptoms). This is a constant monitoring situation that will go up to game time.”
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson went through a similar situation as Vick is going through right now when he had a mild concussion from a vicious hit to the helmet he took from Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson in a regular-season game last season.
“Before I went out to practice I heard Rick (Burkeholder) saying some things to him about he did pretty good on his tests,” Jackson said. “That’s signs that he’s improving and he’s getting better. As long as everyday he’s improving, (Vick) sat in meetings today. I dont’ think it’s too serious, it’s probably a mild concussion. Hopefully, we’ll have him by Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Reid will have his two-backup quarterbacks Vince Young, who is recoveing from a hamstring injury, and third string quarterback Mike Kafka, who played in Sunday’s game, ready to work with the first-string offense.
“We’re pretty fortunate to have three guys who we feel comfortable with that could play in the game,” Reid said. “My message to all of them is get ready accordingly and then as we go through this process, it takes place, it will clear itself out and we go play the game. We’ve got other things. We’ve got the Giants. The coaches and the rest of the team has to get ready to play the Giants.”
If Vince Young is healed from his hamstring injury, Reid will probably start him if Vick’s is not ready to go. Young practiced with the team on Wednesday and when asked if he would be ready to go, he said, “I feel great.” In the event that Young is not ready to go, Kafka will be a on hand for the Eagles. He said he’s ready to go, if called upon.
“I just have to prepare the best I can and just spend time on having a good week of practice,” Kafka said as dozens of reporters with cameras and microphones converged on his locker. “Since I’ve got here, you have to prepare to same way as if you’re the starter.”
Meanwhile, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is preparing for Sunday’s game as if Vick is going to be the starting for the Eagles.
“I always hold the position that Michael Vick will start and we will prepare as diligently as we can and refine as it goes along. That’s basically how we would operate,” Coughlin said during a conference call with the Philadelphia media. “If Michael Vick can possibly play, he will play.”