Chip Kelly could have helped the narrative right along. Instead, he stopped it cold.
LeSean McCoy missed practice Sunday because of an injury to his big toe, the back said. He had been dealing with it since the training sessions with the Patriots last week and it flared up on him so he shut it down for a day. The MRI and x-rays came back clean so he tested the injury out Monday and pushed through the entire practice.
"Anytime I'm not capable of going out there and practicing and missing a day of work it's never something to be happy about," said McCoy. "Missing a day of work can be frustrating because somebody's out there getting better and I'm not."
Here's the star player in mid-August working through an injury so he doesn't miss any more time. Seeing the angle, a reporter asked Kelly about McCoy's intensity as a practice player. The response probably wasn't what he was expecting.
"It's OK," said Kelly. "Some days he's great out there and there are other days he's not so great."
Alright, then. What about the injury?
"I don't think he'll ever play again," said Kelly, drawing laughs. "He's fine. It's not as big of an issue as I think anybody made it out to be."
The head coach added that McCoy is a competitor and wants to be out there, but wasn't going any further than that.
Kelly and McCoy have an interesting relationship. There is definitely no coddling going on here. Instead, Kelly finds areas of the back's game to critique, and gives some friendly pokes -- perhaps to ensure that his best player doesn't feel satisfied.
AC SPRAIN FOR HUFF
Josh Huff was in the locker room after practice today and revealed that his shoulder injury is an AC sprain, not a separation.
Asked if he thinks he'll be ready to go for the regular season, he said: "That's my plan, but just gonna rehab it and do everything I need to do to get back on the field with my team. ... Hoping to be back come Week 1 when we play Jacksonville."
Huff injured his shoulder on a kickoff return last week against the Jaguars.
"I didn't think it was anything serious until I tried to get up after I fell down," he said. "And that's when I couldn't feel my shoulder, so I ended up just going to the sideline and getting the diagnostic. It was just an AC sprain."
In other injury news: It sounds unlikely Brad Smith (groin) will play this week but he is expected to practice Saturday. Chris Polk (hamstring) remains sidelined. We'll have more on him later. Nolan Carroll (groin) has been able to to everything in practice, according to Kelly. They are hoping to have the chance to evaluate him against the Steelers.
Sheil Kapadia contributed to this article.