PHILADELPHIA — Eagles tight end Clay Harbor was still sore on Tuesday.
He did not suffer any major injuries in Sunday’s 23-21 victory at Tampa Bay but was still walking a little gingerly through the locker room. He headed for the cold tub in the trainer’s room, hoping that a few minutes of soaking in 50-degree water over the next few days would help ease the aches in time for tonight’s game against Cincinnati at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It’s tough to get ready to play again when you’re used to playing on Sundays,” Harbor said. “It takes a few days just to get over the normal bumps and bruises. But we can’t take that much time this week. I’m going to hit the ice bath as much as I can and try to get as much rest as I can.”
Harbor actually had to wait in line to use the cold tub. The entire team has been forced to accelerate the healing process in order to get ready to play again just four days after the previous game.
In normal weeks, Eagles players have Mondays and Tuesdays off, then practice for three days and hold a walkthrough on Saturday in preparation for a game on Sunday. This week, coach Andy Reid had the team back at the NovaCare Complex on Monday for a light practice, then held another light workout on Tuesday and a walkthrough on Wednesday.
“It’s not an easy thing,” Reid said. “You have to be a tough nut to get over the physical part of it because your body is sore. You have to make sure that you get your rest and keep your liquids in. And mentally, you have to digest the game play in a short period of time.”
The shortened schedule also deprived them of the opportunity to enjoy their victory at Tampa Bay, the Eagles’ first win in 70 days.
They celebrated the end of their eight-game losing streak on the field at Raymond James Stadium and on the plane ride home. But once the plane touched down at Philadelphia International Airport, the revelry stopped. Quarterback Nick Foles and some other players actually went straight to the NovaCare Complex to receive an IV to replentish fluids.
“They were excited at the time and enjoyed the flight back,” Reid said. “But they didn’t have that Monday and Tuesday to enjoy it some more. They had to put that game behind them and move on to the Bengals.”
Likewise, the short week prevented the Bengals from dwelling on a 20-19 loss to Dallas on Sunday.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also had his team back at work Monday.
“Our guys had to turn the clock forward very quickly and forget about the last game,” Lewis said in quotes provided by the Bengals. “The loss was disappointing to all of us, but we don’t have a chance to mope about it. We’ve got to make sure we get all of our marbles in the right direction, put them in our pockets, and go and win this game.”
The good news for the Eagles is they are playing at home. They had a much more difficult task last season, when they had to fly to play a Thursday night game at Seattle. Jet lag and fatigue played roles in a lousy performance that produced a 31-14 loss on Dec. 1, 2011.
There were three Thursday night games involving East Coast versus West Coast. The home team won all three. This season, the NFL decided to omit any cross-country trips from its Thursday night schedule. The Bengals had about a two-hour flight to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
“The league looked into that East Coast to West Coast thing,” Reid said, “and I don’t think the results were good for anybody.”
This week’s quick turnaround possibly prevented quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy and three other players from suiting up tonight.
McCoy and Vick, who have not played since suffering concussions last month, may have had a shot at returning if the Eagles were playing on Sunday. Tight end Brent Celek (concussion), safety Kurt Coleman (sternum contusion) and defensive tackle Mike Patterson (viral pneumonia) were also ruled out on Wednesday.
The players who will be suiting up tonight are hoping the excitement generated by playing in front of their home crowd will block out the lingering soreness for at least a few hours.
“I’ve been doing hot and cold tub contrasts, I got a massage and I’ve been resting a lot,” Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney said. “I’m sure I’ll still be sore, but I just have to tune that stuff out.
“That shouldn’t be a problem because my adrenaline is so high during a game that I don’t feel anything. I’ve had a dislocated finger and didn’t know it until a teammate pointed it out to me and I went to the sideline to have it pulled back in place. I’ve had cuts on my arms and didn’t know I was bleeding until I took a shower after the game. You just get so psyched out there that you don’t even notice that stuff.”
Extra points: The Eagles placed Patterson on the reserve non-fottball illness list Wednesday and filled his roster spot by promoting fullback/right end Emil Igwenagu from the practice squad.
The team also signed former Cleveland defensive tackle Ronnie Camsron to the practice squad.
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