September 10, 2007

Injury bug bites Sheppard

Lito Sheppard's 2007 season began exactly the way his 2006 season started and ended, and that's not a good thing for either the Eagles or their two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

A three-way collision late in the first half with teammate Sean Considine and Green Bay Packers receiver Ruvell Martin left Sheppard with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Sheppard did not return to the Eagles' 16-13 loss, and coach Andy Reid said afterward that the cornerback would undergo an MRI examination today in Philadelphia.

"I took the mass of that collision, especially being on the bottom of it," Sheppard said. "Hopefully, it's nothing too serious. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. For some reason, the first game of the season the last two seasons, it's just been going this way. I'm going to bounce back."

Sheppard missed three games last year after suffering an ankle sprain in the Eagles' season opener against the Houston Texans, and he missed the team's playoff loss in New Orleans because of a dislocated elbow suffered the week before in a playoff game against the New York Giants.

The cornerback also missed the final six games in 2005 with a high ankle sprain.

Sheppard's NFL career started with an injury, too. He missed the first three games of his 2002 rookie season with a quad strain.

"You hate to see that happen to him," safety Brian Dawkins said. "That was one of the things we talked about as we were in the training room together in the preseason. We have to keep [Sheppard] healthy for the season."

With Sheppard out in the second half, William James became the starting cornerback opposite Sheldon Brown and Joselio Hanson moved into the nickel role. Hanson also left late in the game after suffering a mild concussion on a running play by Green Bay's Brandon Jackson.


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