Eagles C Kelce needs surgery for sports hernia

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For 17 weeks in 2013, Eagles coach Chip Kelly knew exactly who was on his offensive line, protecting quarterback Nick Foles and blocking for running back LeSean McCoy.

From left to right: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson. None of the Eagles' five starters missed a game.

Three weeks into the 2014 season and the Eagles' offensive line doesn't look anything like it was supposed to. The latest casualty is Kelce, who needs sports hernia surgery after getting hurt in the Eagles' 37-34 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Kelly said Monday he did not know how long Kelce would be out, but the normal timetable is around eight weeks.

The season began with Johnson, the second-year right tackle, suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. He'll miss his fourth game Sunday in San Francisco before being reinstated for the home matchup Oct. 5 against St. Louis.

Johnson's replacement, Alan Barbre, broke his ankle in the opener against Jacksonville and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Mathis, the left guard, also hurt his knee against the Jaguars and was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return. He will miss at least six more weeks.

"I don't have a level of concern," Kelly said. "I just ask who's available, and let's play."

Taking over at center for Kelce will be Chris Molk, a 2012 seventh-round pick of the San Diego Chargers out of Michigan who sat out all of 2013 after being released by the Chargers in the final cut.

"He's a competitor," Kelly said. "He gets off the ball and gets to the defender. He'll fight you. The games he has played, he's really competed."

Molk filled in at guard for Mathis in the opener and then replaced Kelce at center Sunday.

"Molk is smart," Kelly said. "We didn't have any issues (with the play call) when Molk went into the game. He's not Jason. He doesn't have Jason's experience."

This Sunday, the line will be Peters, Dennis Kelly, Molk, Herremans and Andrew Gardner.

Dennis Kelly started 10 games at right tackle for the Eagles in 2012 but didn't play at all in Chip Kelly's system last year. Gardner made the first two starts of his career the past two weeks. Molk's first career start will come Sunday.

The Eagles' backups are veteran guard Wade Smith, who was signed two weeks ago after being released by Seattle, and tackle Matt Tobin, who has been bothered by a sprained ankle. Kelly said Smith could also play center and would get reps there this week in practice.

"When the first guy's down the second guy has to take over," Kelly said. "Just tell us who's available to play."

NOTES: Kelly said he talked with CB Cary Williams, who criticized the team's practice routine after Sunday's game. "I have no issue with Cary," the coach said. "He was frustrated and I understand that. He wants to be perfect. He's a competitor." . Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who missed the Washington game with a calf injury, is still day to day. . First-round draft pick Marcus Smith saw his first action Sunday and played 16 snaps at inside linebacker. . The Eagles have scored 101 points in three games; 74 have come in the second half and 40 in the fourth quarter.


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