The chance of Brian Westbrook playing this week is continuing to increase. The veteran Running Back has been out for a total of 7 games this season, most recently because of multiple sustained concussions. Westbrook, a 3-time Pro-Bowl player, has been undergoing tests and evaluations from various medical examiners and neurosurgeons over the past few weeks, and appears to finally be ready to return to the field.
It was dubbed likely that Westbrook would miss the entire season and perhaps be forced to retire from football when he initially suffered his second concussion of the year while playing against the San Diego Chargers in early November. However, the team has made it quite clear that the versatile runner is far from being done, and that he is probably even going to suit up this Sunday versus the 49ers.
According to a team source, Westbrook is planning on donning a specially-designed helmet if/when he returns to the Eagles’ lineup. The head piece apparently contains an additional protective padding that is not found in other helmets. It also includes a shock-absorbing material that was actually used to protect the heads of former Navy SEAL soldiers in battle. If a football helmet with the strength of an army warrior’s head piece isn’t enough to keep the 8th-year player safe, then I certainly don’t what will. Seriously, though, this special piece of equipment is designed to turn hard hits into “glancing blows”, reducing the possibility of sustaining a concussion.
Head coach Andy Reid made no comment about the potential helmet change for Westbrook, but he did speak regarding the RB’s practice status for the week: “I am today [planning on having Westbrook playing this week] … It’s a day-to-day thing.” [He will practice with the scout team this week, and we're] just getting him back into football shape.”
In other injury news, TE Brent Celek missed this afternoon’s practice session with a sore back, but WR Kevin Curtis–who has been out since Week 2 with a nagging knee injury–was able to participate in a limited role.