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Vick, still far from return, will not play Sunday

reuben frank csnphilly

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:41 PM

Frank

Vick, still far from return, will not play Sunday

November 16, 2012, 3:26 pm

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Michael Vick is still suffering from serious concussion symptoms and is not only officially out for the Eagles’ game Sunday against the Redskins but faces a potentially long recovery before he’s ready to return to action.

“It’s not even close to him playing,” Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said Friday. “Right now, we’re early in the process.”

Vick suffered a concussion during the second quarter of the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys on Sunday at the Linc and didn’t return to the game. Rookie Nick Foles will make his first career start this Sunday in Washington.

Burkholder said Vick has not yet passed through the first phase of the rigorous concussion protocol the Eagles and the NFL now subscribe to.

He said Vick’s headaches, which were affecting both the front and back of his head, have eased a bit but said his other symptoms remain.

“He’s foggy, he’s not very alert yet,” Burkhfolder said. “He doesn’t have that energy, he’s tired all the time, he’s slept a lot, he hasn’t gotten rid of the fatigue, I would consider him heavy-eyed.

“When you talk to him, he’s just not the Michael Vick that I know when he’s healthy.”

Burkholder also said Vick’s cognitive function, as measured by a league-mandated impact test, is also down below baseline, another indicator Vick is not ready to return to action.

He said Vick will undergo the impact test again on Monday and Burkholder and the team’s doctors will compare the results to guage Vick’s progress. Burkholder said this is the second concussion Vick has suffered since joining the Eagles in 2009. He declined to say whether Vick had suffered any concussions during his six seasons with the Falcons.

Burkholder said Vick isn’t even ready to attempt the next phase in his testing, a bike machine test in which he’s asked to cycle at increasingly elevated heart rates.

“We would normally do an exercise challenge … but he’s not even there right now,” Burkholder said. “He has too many symptoms for us to even exercise him.”

Once Vick passes the team’s exercise test, he would need to be tested and cleared by an independent, league-certified concussion expert.

“But that’s down the road,” he said.

After that, the final phase before Vick could play would be to meet with Eagles team physician Dr. Gary Dorshimer.

“[He’s] a concussion expert who knows Michael very well, who’s been with Michael through every [injury] he’s had in his career here and was with him Sunday on the sidelines,” he said.

Burkholder declined to put any sort of timetable on Vick or speculate whether he’ll be able to return to game action later this year.

He said the length of time it takes a player to get from the first to second phase doesn’t necessarily indicate the length of time the overall recovery will take.

"We've had guys that have come out of phase one immediately and have been stuck in phase two," he said. "I've had guys who have gotten to phase three, and then two weeks later, they couldn’t get out of phase three.

"There is no way to determine that. We come back here Monday and he could be fine, and then I can progress him through the next couple of phases. You just don’t know, and that’s why you don’t judge or speculate with the coaches when he’ll return.

"It’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to them. You have to take it day by day, and none of us will do anything crazy then and he won’t have pressure then."

Vick went 8-2 in his first 10 starts as an Eagle and went to the Pro Bowl in 2010, but he’s 10-13 in 23 starts since.

The Eagles are 3-6 going into Sunday’s game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. They have seven regular-season games remaining.

“As we go through the concussion protocol and our process, we can’t worry about what’s going to happen in the future,” Burkholder said. “I have to take his symptoms day-by-day. I’m concerned about him because he’s hurt. Just like the other guys who are hurt.

“As far as long-term, whether he’s going to play, when he’s going to practice, I’m not even going to judge that. We’re not going to judge that.”

This is Vick's third year as the Eagles' starting quarterback and the third year he's missed games because of injuries. He missed three games in 2010 and again in 2011 with broken ribs. The only year he started 16 games was 2006, his final year with the Falcons.

“I know that was one of his goals, to not get hurt and make it through this season," head coach Andy Reid said after practice Friday.

"Mike is a very considerate guy. He feels like he lets people down and his teammates down and that’s not the case. He’s hurt. One of the toughest guys I’ve been around, though. One of the most competitive, toughest guys I’ve been around.

"So he’ll get better as we go here. He’s just got to get better. That’s what he has to do. Just concentrate on that right now. That’s the most important thing.”

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com