October 12, 2007

Dawkins Out; Lito Questionable

Brian Dawkins has been ruled out for Sunday's game with the Jets, and head coach Andy Reid said Friday that his Pro Bowl safety is out of town getting treatment from doctors who specialize in dealing with neck stingers. Meanwhile, cornerback Lito Sheppard is listed as questionable and receiver Greg Lewis is doubtful because of an ankle injury.

But the day also brought some good news: the expected return of running back Brian Westbrook, tight end L.J. Smith and left tackle William Thomas, all of whom sat out the team's last game -- a 16-3 loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands. Even left guard Todd Herremans, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the bye week, is expected to start. However, Reid noted that the four players will be monitored closely during the course of the game.

Dawkins, meanwhile, will miss a third straight game with an injury sustained as a result of a hit he put on Redskins tight end Todd Yoder in the fourth quarter of the week 2 loss to Washington. His situation also bears watching, although Reid insists the injury is not career threatening.

"It's not that kind of a thing. It's not one where he's worried about that," Reid said. "Nerves are crazy, and you start dealing with those stingers and you're dealing with nerves. Everybody is different. It's still bothering him, so we're looking at different ways; people that we know and trust."

The head coach did not reveal any specifics regarding Dawkins' visit -- a doctor's name or even a location. He did say that Dawkins would be back in Philadelphia by the middle of next week when the team begins preparations for the Oct. 21 game against the Bears.

"We're just going to get him taken care of and see how he does here as we get into next week," Reid said.

As anxious as Dawkins is to return to the field, he does not want to put on the uniform until he knows he can perform at a high level. He said in the week leading up to the Giants game that if there was any hesitation in his mind about making a tackle, that he wasn't ready to return.

"That's what I don't want, and that's what I'm trying to make sure doesn't happen," Dawkins said. "When I do get in, I want to play. I don't want to think about anything when I play. When you are thinking about something, you're going to be a step behind, or something else could happen.

"When I get in there, I want to be able to concentrate on the opponent, the play formation, down and distance, and trying to wreak havoc."

Dawkins must also walk the fine line of knowing when he is physically ready to return. In recent weeks he said that he will not return until both he and his doctors feel the time is right.

"I'd say it's the doctor's choice, but I definitely have say in it also," Dawkins said. "When we are both on the same page, when it's time to make that decision, and hopefully that decision will be made a lot sooner this week, then it will be time to roll."

That was Dawkins' answer to a question posed more than two weeks ago, and that decision has been pushed back a number of times.

More On Sheppard & Co.

Although Sheppard participated in practice this week, Reid said that if his Pro Bowl cornerback does play, it will be in a limited capacity. He has been out since the season opener with a knee injury.

"He can't quite open today all the way, but he's getting there. He's close," Reid said. "That's a positive."

Like Sheppard, Smith too may be limited somewhat in his first game action since week 2.

"I'm not going to ask him to play the whole game," Reid said. "He'll get in. We'll see how he feels, and try to be smart with this."

Up front, Reid expects the left side of the line to be intact. Left tackle William Thomas practiced the last two days after missing Wednesday's workout, while left guard Todd Herremans practiced fully Friday after being limited on Thursday.

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