By CHRIS McPHERSON
Tight end L.J. Smith will not participate in the team's Organized Training Activities (June 5-14) after undergoing successful surgery to repair a sports hernia Wednesday.
The surgery was performed on the 6-foot-3, 258-pound Smith by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. Smith's status will be evaluated over the next several weeks to determine whether he will be ready to practice at the start of training camp. Veterans are scheduled to report to training camp on July 30.
Tight end L.J. Smith had five touchdown receptions in 2006 With Smith's absence at the OTAs, the Eagles will have Matt Schobel, Lee Vickers and fifth-round draft pick Brent Celek. Mike Bartrum remains on the roster, but his status remains unclear after a season-ending neck injury was incurred in November.
A third-round pick in 2003, Smith has played in 63 games (43 starts) and has 172 career receptions for 1,991 yards and 14 touchdowns. Last season, Smith had 50 catches for 611 yards and a career-high tying five touchdowns. He also improved as a blocking tight end as he helped running back Brian Westbrook rush for a career-high 1,217 yards. This season is a pivotal one for Smith who is in the final year of his rookie contract. The two-time Pro Bowl alternate has expressed his desire to remain a Philadelphia Eagle after this season.
Smith is the not the first player to deal with a sports hernia injury. Quarterback Donovan McNabb was placed on Injured Reserve due to complications of a sports hernia in 2005. Punter Dirk Johnson had surgery prior to training camp in 2005. *
Another hernia? At least they caught it now, and not in September. I just hope this does not become a recurring problem. Let's all hope for the best. On the bright side, this will give Celek, and Vickers plenty of work. That should be a good camp battle to keep an eye on.
May 31, 2007
By CHRIS McPHERSON