Source: Evan Mathis Sidelined Following Ankle Surgery

Evan Mathis had surgery on his ankle, according to a league source.

The procedure was termed a “minor clean out” to alleviate some discomfort and swelling. He is expected to be sidelined for the upcoming OTAs and potentially all of the summer minicamps, but should be full-go for training camp.

Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly was first with the report.

The vacancy at guard in the short term could be filled by Danny Watkins, the former first-round pick who ended up in a reserve role last season.

Mathis was one of the less-heralded signings of that now infamous 2011 offseason, but he turned out to be the best investment. The 31-year-old has started all but one game over the past two seasons for the Eagles, and has proven to be one the line’s most reliable parts.  Pro Football Focus‘s rankings has Mathis as the top-rated lineman in the NFL for 2012. He signed a five-year, $25 million contract last offseason.

The OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) kick off on May 13 following this weekend’s rookie minicamp. The mandatory team minicamp runs from June 4-6.

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  • morgan c

    I always wonder why these maintenance clean-up type surgeries aren’t performed earlier in the off-season. I mean, I understand right after the season, these issues may not have reared there head yet, but you’d think this could have been done in March.

    • Rick H

      They are sometimes suspicious. But in this case I believe that Mathis kept feeling increased pain during the mini workout in the beginning of April and then afterwards. I would rather have it now then it happen on September 1st,2013

      • GEagle

        Think Mathis probably wanted to show his new coach what he could do first, before going on the Shelf til July

        • southy

          Think Mathis’ doctor wanted to leave surgery as a last resort, hoping ice/time/PT would deal with the symptoms before you go in with a knife.

  • Andy

    Not what I wanted to read on a Monday afternoon.

    • Where exactly are you waking up to this in the morning? Haha it’s dinner time dude.

  • Johnny Domino

    Buys Danny some time.

    Make the most of it, son.

  • ACViking

    Tim Mc:

    Before playing in the “Howard Mudd” block scheme, Mathis was at best a journeyman.

    Mudd’s done. So’s his blocking technique.

    What exactly is the factual basis for believing that — now once again in a more conventional blocking scheme — Mathis will be anything but the journeyman he’d been for most of his career?

    By the way, I don’t see how “minor surgery” on an ankle injury keeps a player out of OTAs and possibly longer.

    Maybe just saying Mathis has “surgery” on his ankle injury is more accurate.

    Unless the surgery itself was minor, but the consequences are not. Seems, though, you’re talking consequences. So I don’t see the surgery as “minor.” It suggests a misleading outcome.

    • Anthony Hart

      Mathis was a solid player before he got to Philly, but some bad circumstances lead him to not doing too much.

      Mudd’s scheme is not some crazy scheme that nobody else uses that makes all crappy players look like good ones, it’s essentially a zone blocking scheme which is exactly what we’re going to run this year. Mathis has been outstanding the past two years and I don’t think he’s going to drop off because we’re running a slightly different ZBS.

      As far as needing to take time off until training camp, that’s really only about 2 months off. It seems like a reasonable amount of time for an ankle procedure, especially for a lineman who is constantly putting a lot of pressure/weight on his lower body. He’s a vet, missing OTAs shouldn’t affect him and it’s probably just erring on the side of caution.

      • JofreyRice

        wish I could give this 2 votes up! Nice to see the canard about Mudd’s blocking scheme being so gimmicky dispelled here. Howard didn’t translate the scheme from cave paintings of ancient aliens and teach it in cuneiforms, it’s zone blocking, except designed to pressure a defense horizontally (sprint draw & stretch) versus vertically, like an inside zone blocking scheme.

        Mathis is the most athletic guard in the NFL, bar none. Perfectly suited for ZBS. I don’t think the ankle will be a problem, and I don’t think he needs the reps.

      • ACViking

        Mathis started 23 games in 6 seasons for 2 teams before coming to Philadelphia.

        Maybe the rest of the NFL was missing how great a player Mathis was before he met Mudd.

        The only scheme in which Mathis has played well — and let’s not put him in the Steve Hutchinson category, okay — is the Mudd scheme.

        Facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Mathis was a mediocre player before meeting Mudd.

        Hell . . . when the Eagles signed him, Mathis wasn’t even penciled in to start.

        • Anthony Hart

          And the fact remains, our offensive line scheme isn’t going to change much and he’s been an elite player for the past 2 season.

          • GEagle

            the only thing that will change in the blocking scheme is pass blocking..Mudd asked player to pass block as if the were blocking on a run action play(not to be confused with play action)…for a guy like Watkins it was a drastic transition..It’s not natural to basically run block, when you are used to stepping back in pass coverage….our 5 projected starters will be great in stoutlands scheme..Watkins has a chance. What Dennis Kelly will look like is the big question

          • CJ

            that’s a technique I haven’t heard of before. Can ass blocking be effective in today’s NFL? Seems the DL are quicker these days and might be past the OL before they can turn around. Or does the OL the line up facing the QB so they’re in better position?

          • Fink

            Wonder if Howie would consider bringing in Nicky Minaj..?

          • CJ

            Probably more qualified as an ass blocker than Danny Watkins.

        • JofreyRice

          Check out Pro Football Focus’ 2011 Feature “Free Agency – Bargain Hunting”.

          “Evan Mathis, G

          We’ve recognized the play of Mathis on more than one occasion to no avail. For whatever reason, the Bengals just didn’t see fit to get him on the field consistently after an incredible start to the 2009 year. It’s a shame for them (he was much better than Nate Livings), and a shame for offensive line aficionados. Mathis was dominant when he was on the field, rarely giving up pressure and pushing around defenders in the run game. Even when he came in for some cameo snaps in 2010, he highlighted his talent with a series of good plays. Some team will get excellent value with him.”

          Now, like anyone, PFF can overvalue guys, or be flat-out wrong but for the most part, I trust them. Their take is based on watching players exhaustively. Mathis has played very solid football since he’s been an Eagle, and I think based on his production, consistency, and athleticism, is a top 5 guard in the league. I don’t know that “Mathis was a mediocre player before meeting Mudd.” is a fact. It’s a fact that he didn’t start many games before he came to the Eagles, but according to these guys, he excelled in limited duty, and expanded on that play when he moved into a a starting role.

          • Tom W

            Thank you. Love it when facts get in the way of stubborn opinions.

          • dollamakeuholla

            Well that just about sums up any argument now. He has always been a good player but sometimes good players need the right opportunity to be able to showcase it!

        • Mathis got completed dicked around in his time in Cincinnati in 2009 he started the first 7 games, where the team went 6-1. He played excellent. You can call him a “journeymen” if you so choose, but the fact is he played well. Without a doubt, he was a better player than his replacement Nate Livings. The drop off in play was extremely noticeable, yet the Bengals kept playing Livings even though he was graded as one of the worst guards in the NFL. The football world has still yet to figure out exactly why Mathis got screwed so bad there, but you will not find a football mind that watch Cincinnati play in those 2 years who will tell you that Mathis should not have been on the field. Even with Mathis rotating and playing better than Livings he could not get on the field.

          Besides the Mudd scheme, Mathis also went through a great physical change between the 2010 and 2011 season. He dropped almost 10% body fat, and became one of the most athletic guards in the game. That, paired with the new scheme, and new coach, created the perfect storm for Mathis to resurge his career.

          You can argue that facts are stubborn things, but one fact that you aren’t factoring in is there is human elements to football, that can be easily overlooked if you just look at the stats.

          • GEagle

            superBowl champs thought he was good enough to offer a starting spot to

        • xlGmanlx

          I agree, I read the write ups, but anybody playing next to the best LT in football probably glows a little brighter. I would like to see if they could kick Todd to LG and see if watkins can play at RG. I never can really fully trust both Kelce and Mathis, I always felt like they were another example of reid thinking he was smarter than everyone else.

          • southy

            Mathis graded out as the top OL for PFF while playing next to He That Shall Not Be Named/King Dunlap on one side, and Dallas Reynolds on the other side. Whatever glowing he did he did on his own.

          • xlGmanlx

            I guess you might have overlooked the part where I acknowledged statistical evidence contrary to my belief? But he reminds me of an offensive Jason Babin, who I was never a fan of because he was a one trick pony.

          • southy

            You acknowledged statistical evidence contrary to your belief, and then used his “playing next to the best LT in football” as a reason others would think higher of his play. I was pointing out that he stood out plenty this past year playing among some of the league’s worst o-linemen.

  • Wilbert M.

    Hopefully Mathis didn’t catch Watkins’ “chronic” ankle condition….

  • Dominik

    And there goes the one O-Line starter that wasn’t injured last year…

    Hope he will be ready soon. We NEED a good O-Line for Kellys System to thrive, and Mathis happens to be one of our best guys.

  • surgery is always a concern. Mathis is a solid contributor who keeps a low profile. I’d hate to loose him for any length of time. His chemistry would be greatly missed. Mathis and Peters are good for multiple blocks on any given play and key blocks in the second level.