Starting outside linebacker Nigel Bradham revealed to reporters Wednesday that he broke his left thumb in Sunday's game against the Giants and had to have surgery on Monday.
Bradham said that the injury occurred early in the game and he played the rest of the way through it. He had six screws put in his hand in surgery. He is optimistic he can play through this injury with a cast on his hand.
"One of the players came across, hit my thumb, and basically just broke it in three places," said Bradham as he stood at his locker with a cast on his left hand. "I knew it was bad … I just felt like it was something I could keep playing with, so I stayed out there."
Bradham stayed out there and played 100 percent of the snaps through significant pain and swelling without putting on a cast. Somehow, he finished with six combined tackles.
How'd he do it?
"Something inside, man. Heart," Bradham said. "I guess that's the only answer for it really. It was definitely painful. But it was just something I had to get through."
Take a look at the best defensive photos from the Eagles' win over the Giants in Week 12.
Bradham could play with some kind of club on his hand to protect it as it heals. He said he will practice this week and decide what he will do going forward.
Kamu Grugier-Hill, the starting outside linebacker opposite of Bradham, suffered a similar injury in the Eagles' Week 8 win in London over the Jaguars and also had to have surgery. He wore a club on his hand for the Eagles' next two games against the Cowboys and Saints.
As reporters spoke to Bradham in the locker room, Grugier-Hill walked behind and sang a tune with the lyrics "thumb brothers."
"Unfortunately, Nigel obviously had an injury and yeah, now we're the thumb brothers," Grugier-Hill said. "I think it's more of a burden than anything, but it doesn't really stop me from doing what we do or anything on the field."
Linebackers coach Ken Flajole spoke with reporters Wednesday afternoon after Bradham revealed the injury. He expects there to be instances where Bradham's injury will make it hard for him to complete a play. He said the defense will have to be aware of that and prepare to step up in those circumstances.
But overall, Bradham's role as a leader and signal-caller as Jordan Hicks remains sidelined with a calf injury makes up for any lost ability.
"It's not insurmountable," Flajole said. "There's going to be maybe a time in the ballgame where he goes to wrap tackle a guy and the guy spins out and if maybe he had the hand and fingers available to grab that he could have succeeded on that play.
"But really, it's inconsequential in my mind because there's so many other things that he brings, not only to our group, but to the defense that you just have to live with those instances and you move on and just know that all the other things that he brings to the table are such a positive that they overweigh them."
Through the pain, Bradham expects to play in a crucial game Monday against Washington. His presence will be important as Hicks continues his recovery. But for Bradham, it's not the injury situation in the linebacker room that makes him want to play through the pain.
"I'm just that type of guy," Bradham said. "I want to be out there regardless. That's just my thing. I'm always trying to be available."