What’s Going On with DeSean?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles are set to enter another Sunday without DeSean Jackson, essentially the sixth consecutive game Philadelphia has been without its deep threat on the outside.
After exploding against Washington in the season opener Jackson played only a handful of snaps in Atlanta before exciting with what was first described as a groin injury and then updated to better define the issue as an abdomen strain, one that was described as a Grade 2 strain by an NFL source to 973espn.com.
By definition, that means a slight tear in the abdomen.
The early speculation around Jackson was optimistic with some believe the 32-year-old could be back in as early in two weeks but things grew dimmer when it was leaked that surgery was recommended for Jackson with the player deciding that he wanted to do everything to get back on the field as quickly as possible and rest followed by rehab would be the quicker route.
“One of the things I appreciate about DeSean is how hard he’s working to get back," Doug Pederson said Friday. "He wants to get back out on the football field in every way possible."
Jackson is unquestionably getting closer and was on a separate field working out with the team during practice for the first time this week with a new goal of Week 8 in Buffalo in mind.
As for the murkiness of Jackson's injury, everyone has tried to avoid the term "sports hernia" when it comes to the veteran and what is going on. A sports hernia as defined by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is "a strain or tear in any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area."
The fact that Jackson's injury was first described as a groin problem before being better classified certainly pointed to the lower abdomen but there is a possibility of having a tear in the abdomen which isn't defined as a sports hernia, according to Dr. Ben Wedro, who has provided medical consultation at major international sporting events including the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, and the Pan Am Games.
"The location of a sports hernia is in the groin or the floor of the pelvis," Wedro told 973espn.com. "An abdominal muscle strain can affect any of the muscles of the abdominal wall, including those that that would be considered a sports hernia."
When asked to clarify whether someone like Jackson could have a tear in the abdomen that wouldn't be considered a sports hernia Wedro said" "Yes. You can tear your rectus addominis muscle (one of the six packs) and not have it involve the groin."
Since we don't have access to the Eagles medical staff there is no way of knowing why the groin and therefore lower abdomen was first identified as the problem area, something that would point toward sports hernia but coach Doug Pederson did go with "core injury" when talking about Jackson on Friday.
"With this injury, it’s tricky," Pederson assessed. "He wants to be 100 percent, we want him to be 100 percent, so I’m not going to push him. I’m not going to rush him. I want him to feel and be the DeSean we know he’s capable of being before we put him back out there.”
The problem is 100 percent probably isn't possible, at least without the surgery Jackson already eschewed.
“Nobody’s ever 100 percent," Pederson admitted. "Again, with the type of injury he had, being a track guy, being a speed guy, it affects you; it makes a difference. Is he going to be 100 percent when he comes back? Probably not. Is he going to feel better? Yeah, he’ll feel better and just be able to focus on football.”
While frustrating, it continues to be wait and see with Jackson, who brought in his own personal trainer to speed up the process.
"We don't put timetables on guys with these types of injuries, these core-muscle deals," Pederson explained. "Again, I don't know anything about the injury. I've never had one. I'm not that fast. I don't know how to run that fast, so I don't know what he's feeling. But I know this: That the guys that have had them, they have come back and come back well.
"Again, not to push him, and I don't want him to feel any added pressure. When he's ready, he's ready. I just don't want to put a label on it and put him in a box."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen