When Jason Babin isn’t hunting bears in Alaska or running with bulls, he’s playing football. You know, as a hobby.
And when he pursues that hobby, he’s pretty good, and he’s pretty mean. He had 18 sacks and 40 tackles last year, a sack total that landed Babin behind only DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen. But the thing about being a crazy, frothy wild boar who also hunts wild boar–on the football field and elsewhere–is that healthy, fully functioning limbs are essential.
For at least the next three weeks, Babin won’t have the core tool of full leg mobility, which is a pretty big deal when you’re trying to crush dudes. Adding to the growing list of injuries already piling up in the early days of training camp that are of both the minor and major variety, Babin has a “fairly serious” calf strain, meaning a vital piece of the Eagles pass rush will likely miss the remainder of training camp.
More specifically, Babin has a Grade 2 muscle strain, which implies that there’s a small tear and some bleeding. As Reuben Frank of CSN Philly reports, the injury is particularly troublesome for defensive ends due to the acceleration and short burst that’s demanded at the position.
A source said the injury is a tricky one for a defensive end, because it’s located on the inside of his calf, and the muscle that’s injured is the one that he uses to push off when the ball is snapped.
Because of that, the Eagles have to be very cautious with Babin’s return or risk him re-injuring the muscle when he returns to action and resumes practicing. So there’s a good chance Babin won’t return to practice immediately after he’s cleared just to give the muscle some extra time to strengthen.
Muscle strains are graded from one to three, with three being the most serious. The source said Babin’s Grade 2 strain is “not a very bad Grade 2 strain.”
It’s now highly unlikely that Babin will appear in a preseason game. Simply put, any time any player gets his first game action of the season during the first game that matters, that’s the opposite of good.
But since he was raised by a pack of wolves and has therefore grown to become a finely-tuned athletic machine, Babin should be fine, even if there’s some lingering rust during Week 1 against Cleveland.
And more importantly, the Eagles will be fine if Babin isn’t quite Babin early in the season, as defensive end is an especially deep position for Philly. Vinny Curry was drafted in the second round in April, and Brandon Graham is also capable of stepping up after he started six games last year.
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