Fooch's Note: Andy Reid says Vick's hand injury is a contusion not a fracture and if swelling goes down, he could play this week.
Given the importance of injuries in the outcome of games, I've decided to start a new weekly feature taking an early look at the previous Sunday (or Monday) injuries that will affect the 49ers upcoming opponent. The Philadelphia Eagles are the first such opponent and they really took one on the chin yesterday. The Eagles lost to the New York Giants 29-16, but more importantly for the 49ers, lost quarterback Michael Vick to a broken hand and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a hamstring injury.
Vick suffered his injury in the third quarter after what I would think was a late that sent him to the ground. He landed awkwardly on his right hand and as this video shows he then grabbed his helmet. There is no word on a head injury, but he will be getting a CT scan today so we'll likely hear something later today. My guess is the Eagles will not say much beyond "he's day-to-day."
I suspect Vick will be limited in practice and then listed as questionable this Friday, but we won't know for sure if he'll play until Sunday. If there is a broken bone he'll have at least a brace of some sort, if not a small cast. That makes for a troublesome grasp on a snap from center. If Vick is unable to go, Mike Kafka and Vince Young are the two backup options. VY was inactive yesterday but could be the guy who would get the start given how poorly Kafka performed against the Giants in limited play.
The other significant Eagles injury saw Jeremy Maclin leave the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. There has been no official word yet but Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane made it sound like odds were slim that Maclin would be ready. Hamstring injuries can be tough to overcome so Wednesday and Thursday practice reports could tell us a lot. If Maclin is unable to play, the Eagles could go with some combination of Jason Avant and the other Steve Smith opposite Desean Jackson.
The Eagles remain a tough opponent because of the talent on defense. However, if Vick and Maclin are removed from the equation, or at least somewhat limited, this game is suddenly a lot more interesting. That's not to say it becomes some kind of must-win, but it goes from likely loss to question mark status.
While some comments would indicate some folks prefer tanking and not wasting time with a playoff spot, I'd have to disagree. I want a playoff spot even if it means getting laughed at by the rest of the league because it's some sort of training wheels playoff spot with the NFC West. If the Eagles game becomes even a little bit more manageable, that's huge. Every non-division win is monstrous in this train wreck of a division. It's as simple as that.
You could make a strong arguments that a game against a full strength Eagles team would tell us more about the 49ers even in defeat. At this point, I just want victories. I think this team is headed in the right direction, so moral victories in defeat really don't do much for me anymore. It's time to get more Ws. If it's against a weakened opponent, so be it. Given that the 49ers have been hosed on some calls this season, a weakened opponent or two seems like reasonable compensation.