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PI: Ranks of offensive line thinned by injuries


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Ranks of offensive line thinned by injuries

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Even the strongest things can break - or bend, at least - every once in a while.

For the Eagles, the strongest and most stocked position of their team over the past few years has been the offensive line. None of the five starters missed a regular-season game last season.

Yesterday, the first dent in that streak of steadiness occurred when right tackle Jon Runyan was driven off the field during the morning practice on a cart with tightness in his lower back.

Coach Andy Reid said Runyan, entering this season third among active players with 160 consecutive regular-season starts, was fine. He did not expect the 11-year veteran to miss any significant time.

The prognosis on fellow lineman Scott Young might not be so good. Young, who replaced Shawn Andrews at right guard after he sprained his ankle Wednesday, left the morning session with a sprained right knee.

"We don't have a guy there right now, per se, but we'll just have to see how things work themselves out as we get closer to the game," Reid said.

Young, a fifth-round selection from Brigham Young University in 2005, has been a reserve guard. Besides his knee pain, Young said it hurts not to be able to practice when it is an opportune time to show the coaches what he can do.

"I need all the experience and work with the first team that I can possibly get," said Young, wearing a white sleeve on his right leg.

"It's all about experience, and that's one thing I'm lacking. I've been here for couple years, but haven't had the chance to run with [the first team] as much. The last week-and-a-half has been really nice, because I've grown as a player mentally and physically. I just have to get back on the field as soon as possible."

Young, who said he has never had so much as a tweaked knee before, said he was lucky the injury wasn't worse. Young was pass blocking and got tangled with defensive end Juqua Thomas. He wasn't sure who was thrown into him, but was thankful the ground was wet enough from early-morning showers that his feet slid instead of locking up.

"It was scary," Young said. "The first thing that ran through my mind was, 'I can't miss any reps.' But it doesn't do me any good if I'm out there and not full go. I just have to be cautious about it, take it slow and see where it all goes."

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