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Brandon Brooks, Ryan Mathews still sidelined by injuries

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles have been pretty healthy through the early part of Doug Pederson’s first training camp. Two of the most significant injuries, to guard Brandon Brooks and running back Ryan Mathews, were sustained before the team began practicing.

Brooks injured a hamstring the day before the first practice of camp. He was not on the field Wednesday. Right tackle Lane Johnson said it would probably be another week before Brooks was able to practice.

Mathews arrived in camp with an ankle injury and was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. Pederson said Wednesday that Mathews is “hopefully coming back in the next couple of days.”

Meanwhile, young running backs Kenjon Barner, Byron Marshall, Cedric O’Neal and Wendell Smallwood have gotten more practice time.

“It's great for those guys to get so many reps and so many touches,” Pederson said. “It's just going to help the overall balance of the football team and put some good film on tape for a lot of people to see.”

Smallwood did not practice Wednesday after injuring a quadriceps muscle on Monday. He is expected to be out for a few more days.

Those are the three most significant injuries of camp so far. All three resulted from non-contact activity. Pederson said he was concerned about the risk of injuries when the team hits, as it did Wednesday. But it’s also important for players to prepare for the contact that comes with the preseason and regular-season games.

“I've been around this business a long time to know that this is a contact sport and injuries are part of the game,” Pederson said. “I'm not going to shy away from the tackling or shy away from the hitting just to try not to get [anybody hurt]. Do you want anybody [hurt]? No, you don’t want anybody to get hurt.

“But at the same time, if we learn how to practice in pads and then take care of each other when we're in those situations, it's just going to make us a better football team down the stretch. The guys will learn how to practice and play fast, and that's what you want.”