Losing Bunkley would be a huge blow to the defense.
Early in the Eagles' Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers, defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley was forced to leave the game and head to the locker room. He had been hit by a teammate while both were trying to make a tackle, and his elbow bent sideways and backward in a rather unnatural fashion.
Now, according to head coach Andy Reid, Bunkley will be forced to have surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season. Reid, as always, was non-committal on whether or not Bunkley would actually wind up on IR, but that seems to be the popular opinion.
In Bunkley's absence, Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon will likely start in a rotation next to Mike Patterson. The team could go out and sign another tackle if they put Bunkley on IR, but it's more likely they'll use Laws, Dixon, and Patterson as the primary tackles and bump Brandon Graham or Darryl Tapp inside on passing downs.
The Eagles' seventh-round pick Jeff Owens is also available to them on the practice squad, but they'd probably like to keep him there. If they felt he was ready to contribute, he likely would have made the active roster.
With the way Laws has stepped up his game this season, the team probably isn't panicking too much. They will, however, need a lot more production out of middle linebacker Stewart Bradley if they're going to fix their woes defending the run.
Bunkley seemed to be the only guy actually doing his part in that respect, and with him gone there will be a lot more blockers getting their hands on Bradley. Hopefully the first five weeks of the season were just a warm-up for Bradley and he's ready to get back to his 2008 form.
In other injury news...
Reid said left tackle Jason Peters was unable to put weight on his knee after the Eagles' 27-24 win over the 49ers Sunday night, and said the tackle does have some ligament damage. Reid did, however, sound optimistic that Peters would be able to go Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
If Peters can't go, the start would either go to King Dunlap or Todd Herremans could be slid out to left tackle and Reggie Wells could get the start at left guard.
Also, Asante Samuel and Riley Cooper are expected to be available next week while Michael Vick's status remains up in the air.