Full pads always bring the risk of injury, but the biggest blow for the Eagles on Saturday's opening day of pads-on practice didn't even come on full contact. During a drill in which two receivers run routes against three secondary defenders, third-year wide receiver Riley Cooper ran deep down the right sideline, covered step for step by Curtis Marsh. Michael Vick delivered the ball deep and Cooper made a great adjustment on the ball, reaching it at its highest point. But when Cooper hit the ground, the ball came loose, eliciting a celebration from Marsh.
Only then Marsh realized that Cooper was still lying on the ground. Cooper was later carted off the field with his left arm limp beside his body. After practice, the word came down that Cooper, whom wide receivers coach David Culley predicted was in store for a big season, had suffered a fractured left collarbone that will keep out for some time, depending on the severity of the fracture. The Eagles have six weeks until their season opener against the Cleveland Browns, so there is time for Cooper to recover.
But because Cooper has already taken place in practice, the Physically Unable to Perform list is not an option; the Eagles will either wait out his recovery or place Cooper on injured reserve.
Cooper was the heavy favorite for the fourth wide receiver spot, a race which will now involve some more suitors, with contenders like sixth-round rookie Marvin McNutt (who had a great day of practice Saturday), Chad Hall, undrafted rookie Damaris Johnson, veteran receiver Mardy Gilyard and practice squad holdover Ronald Johnson.
Elsewhere on the injury front, Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin suffered a right calf strain, for which he will undergo an MRI Saturday night. Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder made sure to emphasize that Babin's injury is not Achilles-related.
Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon also left practice with cramps.
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