Eagles place Buckhalter, two others on PUP list

Updated: July 20, 2006, 8:04 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Correll Buckhalter
Buckhalter

Star-crossed tailback Correll Buckhalter, who has missed three of the last four seasons because of knee injuries, will begin the summer on the NFL's physically unable to perform list, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid said Thursday, as the team welcomed rookies and selected veterans to training camp.

Buckhalter will be joined by two rookie wide receivers, fourth-round draft pick Jason Avant and fifth-round choice Jeremy Bloom, on the active PUP list.

By being on the active PUP list, all three players can join the Eagles' workouts when they are medically cleared for practice. Going on the inactive PUP list, a move that typically is not made until before the start of the season, means a player must sit out at least the first six games of the year.

Reid said all three players will be re-evaluated on a daily basis but did not offer a timetable for when any of them will get onto the practice field. Although the Eagles were one of two teams to report on Thursday for camp, most veterans aren't due in until next week and the first full-squad practice isn't until Monday.

How much a setback the Thursday announcement is for Buckhalter, the kind of physical runner that the Eagles have lacked the last few seasons, remains to be seen.

A fourth-round choice in the 2001 draft, Buckhalter rushed for 586 yards as a rookie, second most on the team. But the former Nebraska star tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee the following April in a minicamp workout and missed the entire 2002 campaign. He returned in 2003 and rushed for 542 yards but then ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee in the summer of 2004 and missed that season.

After a long and challenging rehabilitation, Buckhalter re-injured his right patella tendon in training camp last summer and again sat out an entire season.

In the two seasons in which he was healthy, Buckhalter appeared in 30 games, with 11 starts, and rushed for 1,128 yards and 10 touchdowns on 255 carries. He also had 23 receptions for 262 yards and one score.

The five-year veteran is attempting to fight his way back up a depth chart that includes starting tailback Brian Westbrook and promising second-year veteran Ryan Moats, who has been impressive during the Eagles' spring workouts.

Avant is expected to compete for the No. 4 or No. 5 wide receiver spot, but the former University of Michigan star hyperextended his knee during organized team activities, underwent arthroscopic surgery on June 20 to clean out loose cartilage and is not yet ready to resume practicing. Bloom, a former Olympics freestyle skier projected as a punt returner, is still rehabilitating a strained hamstring.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.