For Patrick Chung, the road to recovery has been longer than he or his head coach had anticipated.
Chung suffered a shoulder contusion in the September 19 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Chip Kelly initially believed that Chung would be "okay" and ready to practice on the following Tuesday. Unfortunately for Chung and the Eagles, that was not the case. Three weeks later, it appears that the Eagles safety will finally be able to get back on the field, as he is officially listed as "probable" on the injury report for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Chung, who was listed as a full participant on every Eagles injury report released this week, said on Thursday that he wasn't physically limited whatsoever.
"I felt good, definitely," Chung said. "Day by day it's getting better. I'm feeling good, but I don't make those decisions (on who plays). If I'm out there, I'm out there. If not, other guys will go out there and play hard."
Chung has been inactive for the Eagles' last two games, but he is now itching to get back onto the field this Sunday against the Buccaneers. As great as his desire to play may be, he knows that coming back too soon wouldn't be beneficial to anyone.
"Of course I want to play," Chung explained. "I'm looking forward to playing a lot, but I can't make those decisions. I can't rush something. I just have to keep getting better day by day and see how it goes from there."
When asked about why his injury has been taking longer than anticipated to heal, the fifth-year safety responded that the answer to that question was not up to him.
"That's just how the body is," Chung said. "I can't really answer those questions. You can think that it's a two day injury but it ended up being two weeks … I lost a little bit (of strength) but it's back now. It came back pretty fast."
Though Chung's action on the field as been limited over the past three weeks, he's been making sure to keep himself in shape, both mentally and physically, so that he'll be ready for the moment when his number is called.
"Just don't get (rusty)," Chung said. "Don't let one thing take away what you can do. Just because you hurt your shoulder, you can still work on your legs and your footwork. If you hurt your foot you can work on your bench press."
As they head into their sixth game of the season, the Eagles defense has begun to show signs of maturation in the first year of defensive coordinator Bill Davis' new scheme. Now that all signs are pointing towards Chung playing on Sunday, he is ready to reinsert himself into the lineup and remains focused on improving his play each and every time that he takes the field.
"We can always get better and I can always get better," said Chung. "You can go out there and have a great game, but you can also go out and have a bad game, so you can always get better and just stay consistent."
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