PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The underachieving Philadelphia Eagles could be undermanned against Detroit.
Tight end L.J. Smith had surgery Friday for an injured groin and won't play when the Lions (2-0) visit Sunday. All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins missed practice again with a neck stinger and will be a game-time decision, while Pro Bowl cornerback likely will miss his second straight game with a knee injury.
The good news for Philadelphia (0-2) is running back Brian Westbrook practiced Friday for the first time this week and is expected to start, though he's officially listed as questionable. Westbrook, the team's main threat on offense, injured his knee in Monday's 20-12 loss to Washington.
Smith had offseason surgery for a sports hernia then injured his groin early in training camp. He sat out the preseason and has four receptions for 26 yards in two games.
``It seemed like he was getting a little worse,'' head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said. ``The procedure went well. We don't like to put time frames on things. The one good thing about this surgery is that they didn't have to fix anything. You don't have to wait for anything to really heal. You just have to wait for all that swelling and everything to go down, and let him get back to function where he can play football at a normal level.''
Smith will start rehab Saturday and be re-evaluated next week. Rookie Brent Celek, a fifth-round pick who had a strong camp, and veteran Matt Schobel will replace Smith.
``We'll rotate them in there and they'll both have an opportunity to play,'' coach Andy Reid said.
If Dawkins can't play, the Eagles will miss their emotional leader. Quintin Mikell, a special teams ace, would start for Dawkins.
``He's getting better,'' Reid said of Dawkins. ``We'll just see how he does. It's a day-to-day situation there.''
Sheppard was injured in the first half of the season-opening loss at Green Bay. He did some light running at practice Friday.
``We don't have him listed as out because of that,'' Reid said. ``He still has a chance of possibly playing the game. We've just got to make sure it's stable after working out. That's the main thing. I think it's a long shot for him to play. But, we'll see how it goes here. He still has an opportunity to do that.''
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