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It's Official: Surgery For Westbrook
The Eagles responded to the reports that running back Brian Westbrook will undergo surgery by announcing on Wednesday night that Westbrook indeed will have his right ankle operated on this Friday.

The procedure, a debridement, will be performed by Dr. Mark Meyerson in Baltimore.

Westbrook's agent, Todd France, was quoted by saying that Westbrook will have a procedure to "clean [the ankle] up" and that Westbrook has no timetable for his return.'s story, however, quotes a "source" that says Westbrook could be sidelined "well into training camp."

France said Westbrook has "bone spurs" in his ankle that need to be cleaned out, and that if it were the regular season, Westbrook would not have surgery.

"We talked about it when he was at the doctor's office and went through the options and decided it was better to clean it up," France told ESPN. "The ankle has been bothering him since last year."

According to the ESPN report, Myerson recommended several options, including surgery and playing through the pain with a series of cortisone shots.

According to the team's official web site, the ankle began to bother Westbrook during recent workouts and he contacted head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder to check on it.

Head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg both downplayed the issue earlier today.

Westbrook, who will turn 30 in September, had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee in February.

The knee was a continuing irritation to him last season and after leading the league in yards from scrimmage in 2007 his numbers fell off dramatically in '08. In fact, he had the lowest rushing and receiving averages of his career last season and seldom was able to practice.

The question is, even with successful surgery, the Eagles must decide if Westbrook can regain the form last demonstrated in 2007, when he led the league in yards from scrimmage and averaged nearly 25 touches a game.

While I'm reluctant to question Westbrook's toughness, the well will run dry at some point.

Given that -- and the free-agent departure of Correll Buckhalter -- the Eagles used the draft to add another back, LeSean McCoy, to the mix. It remains to be seen how quickly the newcomer can contribute, but even a slightly diminished workload could work in Westbrook's favor.

Lorenzo Booker is another fallback option. But there's an additional option when it comes to preserving Westbrook. The team can use versatile fullback Leonard Weaver in some one-back and short-yardage sets.

The former Seahawk has never had more than 33 carries in a season but he's been effective when given the chance.

"Leonard is a true fullback who has other skills," Mornhinweg recently said. "He has good running skills as well as pass receiving skills. So, we'll try to put him in positions where he can get some success in those areas."

All the discussion about easing the burden of Westbrook, of course, assumes the ankle isn't worse than advertised at this point. That being the case, you'll want to stay tuned. I will continue to watch for more and update you as developments warrant.