Jordan Hicks still isn't a full participant at practice this week, but the man in the middle of the Eagles' defense insists his latest injury is no big deal.
Speaking on the first day of mandatory minicamp Tuesday, Hicks assured reporters the quad injury that limited him during OTAs is minor, and any work he's missing right now is purely as a precautionary measure.
"I'm continuing to progress," Hicks said. "It's nothing serious. I'm just trying to get my body healthy, especially during this time period when it's June and July.
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"There's a fine line. You definitely want to be out there, but also you don't want to push it. That's what we're figuring out right now. I feel good, I'm pressing to just get better each time."
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed the injury is to Hicks' quad and expects the linebacker to be ready in time for training camp.
"It's a quad spasm," Pederson said. "It's kind of a nagging, lingering injury that he's had, it just hasn't fully — it's not 100 percent. That's why he missed the last few OTA practices was to get that thing healthy.
"We'll see where he's at this week. He's another one, limited basis, but looking forward to training camp."
Hicks' status is more cause for alarm than perhaps is usual due to his extensive medical history. The second-year player fell in the draft in part because of several serious injuries he suffered in college, while his impressive rookie season came to an end in Week 9 when he tore his pectoral muscle.
While the quad injury is new and not directly related to any previous issues, Hicks believes it's a result of his coming back after an offseason of rehabilitation rather than training.
"Going from rehabbing and letting the body heal and not necessarily being 100 percent through the entire offseason, and then coming out here and just 'go,' I think that caused a little bit of it," he said.
"Everybody understands that. It's just a matter of progressing and getting back into it."
That being said, Hicks is confident he could play if the Eagles had a game this Sunday. Since there are no opponents scheduled until September, however, they're taking a safe approach.
"It's a matter of that line, where you push or you don't push," Hicks said. "Obviously the main goal is to win games out here, and we're not playing games right now, so we're trying to find that line.
"I want to be out there as much as anybody does, and it's tough not being out there, but we're being smart about it and we're working through. I'm just continuing to get better and that's really all you can do."
Hicks is expected to take on the mantle of starting middle linebacker in the Eagles' new 4-3 defense after an breakthrough 2015 campaign. The 23-year-old appeared in eight games last season, racking up 50 tackles, 1.0 sack, three pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Despite missing out on some reps during the early goings, Hicks feels a lot more comfortable this year just having some NFL experience under his belt.
"I think the biggest thing is knowing what to expect," Hicks said. "As a rookie, you're trying to feel things out. You don't know what the tempo is gonna be like or what the competition is, all those different things. There's so many different factors that you've never experienced because the NFL is completely different.
"Going into year two, being able to have that year under your belt and you kind of have a feel, it changes the whole game."
One of the biggest factors as to whether Hicks will be successful is if he can prove reliable enough to suit up for 16 games. As far as learning and fitting in with the defense is concerned, he's not only confident, but excited over the opportunity to play in a system behind an aggressive, attack-oriented defensive line.
"In this scheme, as a linebacker, you've gotta have a lot of reaction, a lot of instincts because [the defensive linemen] know where they're supposed to go, they have the freedom to do what they want," he said.
"But that's what you want. It keeps the offensive line on their toes. They don't what they're doing, we don't always know what they're doing, but we have the ability to play off of it, and as long as they're messing things up, it'll fit for us."