WEST CHESTER, Pa. -- The Philadelphia Eagles offensive line, which surrendered an NFL record 104 sacks last season, received a blow Thursday when they learned starting left tackle Ken Reeves will be lost for three to four weeks after undergoing an appendectomy.
Reeves, who started nine games at left guard and six games at left tackle last season, underwent surgery at Paoli Memorial Hospital on Wednesday. Reeves, a three-year veteran who started 13 games at left tackle as a rookie, was hospitalized after he reported pain in his side.
The loss of Reeves makes second-year player Matt Darwin the starting left tackle after just three weeks at the position. Darwin was a center last year.
'It is better now than it would have been later,' Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan said. 'He'll (Reeves) be back in three weeks.'
Trainer Othel Davis said Reeves could be out for a month.
Darwin, who started the final 10 games of last season at center after Gerry Feehery was injured, was moved to tackle at the start of the Eagles 'voluntary' workouts at Veterans Stadium in mid-July.
'I was a little disappointed,' said Darwin, who admitted he preferred center and has not played tackle since his freshman year in college. 'But they're the coaches and I'm the player. I have to do the best I can wherever they put me.'
Offensive line coach Bill Walsh said Darwin could learn the position quickly enough to start against the Washington Redskins in Philadelphia's season opener on Sept. 13.
'You'd like to have more time but he's learning quickly,' Walsh said. 'It takes workat that spot and he's a guy that works.'
But right tackle Joe Conwell said the loss of Reeves could hurt.
'Last year, one of our problems was a lack of continuity,' he said. 'We were never able to develop the continuity we needed. Losing Ken Reeves hurts us as far as developing continuity.'
Ryan said the Eagles will try to sign cornerback Leslie Frazier, a five-year veteran who was released by the Chicago Bears earlier this season. Frazier, who suffered a knee injury in Super Bowl XX, missed the entire 1986 season and flunked Chicago's physical.
The Eagles worked out Frazier Thursday, and Davis said the cornerback passed Philadelphia's physical.
'From our end, it looks good,' he said. 'The knee is good and solid. It's clean and not arthritic. The strength is good.'
All four Eagles' starting defensive backs from last season are unsigned.
Eight veterans and six draft picks remained without contracts Thursday and receiver Mike Quick continued his holdout in an attempt to force the team to renegotiate his contract.