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Doctors see improvement in Eagles' Westbrook after concussion

Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook has significantly improved since Sunday, when he sustained a second concussion in a three-week span, doctors said.

Westbrook was evaluated Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and underwent a battery of neuro-cognitive tests, according to a statement released jointly by the Eagles and the hospital. Westbrook also had a comprehensive physical and neurological exam that showed favorable results.

Dr. Joseph Maroon and Dr. Michael Collins, who are sports concussion specialists, said they plan to repeat the tests in two to three weeks.

Westbrook sustained a concussion during a Oct. 26 game against the Washington Redskins. He sat out for two weeks, then was reinjured Sunday during his return to the lineup Sunday at San Diego.

Westbrook won't play Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, and it's unknown if he'll return at all this season.

"We'll know more on him as the next day or two go on," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I talked to him on Monday, and he was in a good place. I think he's grateful to have the care that he's had. He seemed to just want to find out what went on with this next one, but he didn't seemed rattled."

Without Westbrook, it's up to rookie running back LeSean McCoy to carry the Eagles' load.

"I just want to help out the offense as much as possible," McCoy said Wednesday. "I never really expected to play a big role like this. But I got drafted for a reason. I have my chance, my opportunity, and I have to make the best of it."

The Eagles are growing accustomed to playing without Westbrook, who already has missed three games this season. His injury history is a major reason the team selected McCoy in the second round of the NFL draft last April.

McCoy broke several of Tony Dorsett's rushing records in two seasons at the University of Pittsburgh. He leads the Eagles with 353 rushing yards and two touchdowns while averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

"Guys are kind of relying on me to step up," McCoy said. "You can't have any rookie mistakes."

Behind McCoy on the depth chart are third-year pro Eldra Buckley, who has four career carries, and rookie P.J. Hill, who hasn't played a single down yet. That means fullback Leonard Weaver will play a bigger role in the running game. He has 22 carries for 126 yards, including a 41-yard TD.

"It takes something away because you're talking about one of the best backs in the league and now we don't have him," Weaver said. "We're going to have to step it up. We've done it before."

McCoy's biggest adjustment has been pass-blocking and picking up blitzes. He also has experienced some issues with ball security. He must improve in both areas if the Eagles are going to rely on him to fill Westbrook's shoes.

"His maturation rate has been accelled due to what Brian has gone through, and that started back up at camp," Reid said. "He's handled it well. I think he feels good physically right now. He's not banged up or nicked up. I think he's OK there. I had a chance to meet with him on Monday and sit down and talk to him a little bit. I think he's in a good place that way. He's excited about the opportunity this week to jump in there and be the guy."

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is confident that McCoy can do the job.

"I think he's ready to go," McNabb said. "I think, again, it goes back to just providing that confidence for him. That he understands that we're all behind him, we're supporting him and that we know he's going to do a great job."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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