Watching the video of Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid's press conference today on the team's Web site, it seemed that almost the entire time was dominated by questions about injuries, some of which are almost as serious as those the Falcons are confronting.
Entering Sunday's critical 1 p.m. game with the Eagles (7-4) at the Georgia Dome -- a win by the Falcons (6-5) would tie the teams in the standings but the Falcons would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker in the NFC wildcard race -- the Eagles will be without wide receiver Kevin Curtis, Reid said on Monday, and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (concussion) and running back Brian Westbrook (concussion), who has missed the last two games, are unknowns as far as their status and tight end Brent Celek appears that he would be playing with an injured thumb.
That's not quite as severe as what will be faced by the Falcons, who will play without starting quarterback Matt Ryan, Head Coach Mike Smith said on Monday, but it's significant. Other Falcons' injuries whose potential impact remains unknown are: running back Michael Turner (sprained ankle), starting left tackle Sam Baker (ankle/elbow) and right guard Harvey Dahl (ankle/Achilles tendon). Smith said Turner "has not been ruled out" for Sunday.
Here's some of what Reid had to say about the Eagles' injuries. Of Jackson, the team's leading receiver who has 769 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 47 catches:
"He's OK. He didn't feel bad today, so we'll just see how he does here. He did have a concussion, so…"
Reid was asked if he would hold out Jackson.
"We're going to continue to test him and go through the process."
Then he was asked about Westbrook, who seems far from returning.
"We'll see what the doctor says. He's had a mild headache after a workout last week, which I mentioned to you. We'll see what the doctor says."
Then he was asked a follow up.
"I'm not sure exactly what step the doctor will take with him. I don't know that. I'd like to tell you, yes, we'll see what stage and phase he's at and then the doctor will determine what he can do. If that's going back out on the field, we'll go with that. If it's doing more conditioning or in the weight room with [Head Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder] we'll do that."
Then he was asked about Celek, the team's second-leading receiver who was targeted nine times on Sunday but caught only four passes. Celek has 54 catches for 601 yards and five touchdown this season.
"Brent makes those catches. I think [the thumb] was bothering him."
He said he would consult with General Manager Tom Heckert in the afternoon about the possibility of signing a wide receiver.
Since the Eagles could potentially be missing two of their top three weapons, Reid was asked about the possibility of using back-up quarterback Michael Vick more. (Yes, there is that major subplot to Sunday's game.) Vick had two rushes for four yards on Sunday and threw one pass (incomplete).
"Sure. He's a guy that has good athletic ability and skill. To play wide receiver, I don't know about that. Certain situations he can do somethings."