As of yesterday morning, the plan was to let the torn MCL in Kelce’s right knee recover, but Eagles doctors and the training staff decided to go ahead and fix it this morning. When Kelce had his knee scoped, they also made the decision that he would need to have his partially-torn ACL fixed.
“His knee was much looser than it was on the field or in the training room yesterday, and so they figured that he had a pretty good anterior cruciate ligament tear,” said Eagles head athletic trainerRick Burkholder. “When they scoped his knee, they found that his anterior cruciate ligament was torn, not totally, it was partially torn, but it was torn enough and in the wrong area of the ligament that they felt that they were going to have to fix his ACL.”
The plan now is let the MCL heal for three-to-four weeks and then perform surgery on the ACL. From there, Burkholder estimated that Kelce would face about a nine-month recovery period, which would put him at roughly around mid-July, right before the start of training camp.
Burkholder said Kelce’s injury is pretty “straightforward” and added that they expect him to make a full recovery.
“I think he knew he had a knee injury that was pretty significant just from what he felt on the field and what he saw on tape,” Burkholder said. “I think he was hoping for the best, but he had prepared himself for the worst.”
Kelce had started 18 games in a row since the Eagles picked him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He had been given more responsibility in terms of making protection calls at the line of scrimmage this year and had steadily improved as a blocker. He was particularly impressive at the second level, taking on linebackers and defensive backs and helping LeSean McCoy in the run game.
Now the Eagles will rely on Dallas Reynolds, a three-time practice-squad player who finally made the 53-man roster this season. Reynolds, originally an undrafted free agent out of BYU, saw his first NFL action on Sunday and played well against the Ravens. He was given the same pre-snap responsibilities as Kelce.
The Eagles also signed veteran Steve Vallos today. Vallos, originally a seventh-round pick by the Seahawks in 2007, has eight career starts under his belt, but those came in 2008 and 2009.
When you add in Jason Peters’ offseason Achilles injury, the Eagles have now lost two out of five offensive linemen from the unit that finished last season so strong.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at email@example.com.