The initial diagnosis of Kelce’s injury was a knee sprain but further tests have revealed that the 24-year-old suffered a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament and a fully torn medial collateral ligament.
Kelce’s MCL tear will take four to six weeks of recovery time. At that point, he could return to the field with his injured knee braces or he could then have surgery on his ACL, which would sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Dr. Peter DeLuca will examine the ACL on Tuesday and help the Eagles make a decision.
“There is not a consensus across the country from sports medicine people,” Eagles head trainer Rick Burkholder said.
“The MCL tear has to heal before anything can be done with the ACL injury,” Burkholder said.
“It’s a mixed bag,” he said. “Some people get it fixed right away, and some people just let the MCL heal and play with a partial ACL tear.”
One option for Kelce is the new injured reserve rule, which allows a player to return before the end of the season if he is placed on IR. Andy Reid says he would be willing to use that spot for Kelce.
As of now, 28-year-old rookie Dallas Reynolds will be the starting center. He spent the previous three seasons on the practice squad and earned his first NFL playing time on Sunday.
“It wasn’t as tough as I thought it was going to be,” he said. “You didn’t really have much time to think about anything. Just go in and start snapping. It was kind of nice in that way that I didn’t have time to think about anything… I’ve been looking to this moment for a long time…A few years on the practice squad and now to be active and have a chance to play and start, I’m excited for the opportunity.”
“He did well,” Kelce said. “It didn’t look like he got pushed back very much [against the Ravens]. It seemed like he was making the right calls. Dallas is a good player, he was good for us in training camp, and he’ll get a good opportunity here — barring how serious the injury is for me — to prove himself.”
Reid said he has complete confidence in Reynolds. “He did everything that Jason was doing with the calls. He’s a smart kid and he’s able to handle all that. He had a big, physically and literally, right? He had a big men over him and held his own there, and played good, solid football.”
The irony of the situation is that the Eagles could have their starting center miss virtually the full season for the second time in three years. In 2010, veteran Jamaal Jackson tore his triceps in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers and missed the remainder of the season. Mike McGlynn struggled as Jackson’s replacement. This year, I expect Reynolds to do a much better job, largely because offensive line coach Howard Mudd is the best in the business.
The Eagles will likely sign another offensive lineman during the week to replace the loss of Kelce. Julian Vandervelde, the team’s fifth round draft pick in 2011, has experience at both guard and center. I think he will get signed.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. You can follow Bryn on Twitter by clicking here and here. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.