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Burkholder On Abiamiri, Jean-Gilles

Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder updated the condition of two Eagles who will not participate in this week's mini-camp.

Defensive end Victor Abiamiri had microfracture surgery performed on his left knee by Dr. James Andrews on February 9, and will likely not be able to run until early August. Burkholder said that whether Abiamiri will be ready for the start of the season is still up in the air.

"It's a big injury," Burkholder said. "It's a thing that has knocked some guys out of playing. But plenty of people have come back and played too, so he's got youth on his side.

"In general, the rehab protocol keeps changing on this injury, but, in most cases, they won't allow the athlete to run for six months. So he's doing pool work right now and stuff on his feet ... probably right at the beginning of training camp is when he'll really start to run again. So, the question is will he be ready for the season? I don't know. I don't know, and I've told (the front office) that. And they knew that when they put together this roster that he may not be available opening day."

Abiamiri originally hyperextended the knee last season against the Oakland Raiders and played through the pain for the rest of the season. However, it's unclear whether playing on the injury made it worse or if the hyperextension brought to light a previously undetected injury.

"The thing that we don't know is, he's a big guy who plays a position that has these injuries," Burkholder said. "So, did he have the injury, get the hyperextension in Oakland and stir it up? Did he get the injury in Oakland? We don't know that. That's a hard thing to tell. It certainly was worse in January than it was in October when he returned to play, so it progressively got a little bit worse.

"He knows what it takes and he certainly works as hard as anybody we have in the room and he's doing a great job with it. He was on the crutches for six weeks I think and he really didn't lose a lot of muscle mass, which is a big key to success in a rehab."

For his part, Abiamiri acknowledges that he's been hampered by injuries throughout his time with the Eagles, but said there's not much he can do aside from working to get back on the field.

"I know I've been hurt a lot since I've been here," he said. "And when I got hurt during the season, I was like, 'I'm just going to play through it.' And playing through it, it was bothering me through the season. And I figured I'd get it fixed at the end of the season and I did. So, just the amount of time that it takes for it to heal up is extensive.

"What can you do about it besides just try to get better and try to get healthy? That's all I can do at this point."

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, offensive lineman Max Jean-Gilles is unable to practice this week after a recent Lap-Band surgery. Burkholder said that he's on board with Jean-Gilles' decision to undergo the procedure.

"I've been with him for a while now and I know we've tried some different avenues for him to get his weight down," Burkholder said. "And I know he feels like he's at a break point in his professional career that if he doesn't do something about his weight, he's going to struggle to play.

"Am I in the boat with it? Yeah, I'm in the boat with him. It was his decision. He came up with the whole idea himself. I didn't go to him and say, look you should get that lap-band, and I don't think Andy did either. He just came up with the idea, went and saw the doctors, and they had a plan laid out and then we agreed with it."

Burkholder went on to say that he hasn't known of one of his athletes having the procedure before, but he wouldn't be surprised if someone had done it without letting the team know. He also said that there should be no risk for Jean-Gilles on the field, once he's cleared to play. In fact, he didn't rule out Jean-Gilles as a possible trend-setter.

"You know, medicine's changing," he said. "I guess (Jean-Gilles) could be a pioneer."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:07 p.m., April 30

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