Three days until kickoff — and one huge difference-maker is nowhere to be found. Miles Sanders was absent from Eagles’ practice on Thursday.
The rookie running back is working his way back from a worrisome ankle injury — a low-grade sprain — and was held out of team drills. Starting slot receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) was also missing. Both could be game-time decisions.
Sanders, who has 1,641 all-purpose yards, was also listed as missing practice on Wednesday, although that injury report was an “estimation” since the Eagles only held a walk-through.
A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the Penn State product is planning to test out his injured ankle tomorrow as the inflammation has gone down. Sanders “wants to play” and expects to be on the field.
If Sanders cannot play, Boston Scott would likely draw the start with Jordan Howard mixing in on short-yardage downs. Scott has been an end-zone magnet as he now has scored five touchdowns in 11 games. Some of those plays were designed handoffs, while others were just the second-year player making something out of nothing.
“Boston obviously is hungry,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “He’s finding that goal line, done a really good job of finding the hole, being patient, picking his way through it, but then when there has been a tackler present himself, he’s taken on that guy and been able to fall into the end zone or finish in the end zone.”
Zach Ertz Seen Running Routes at Eagles Practice
The Pro-Bowl tight end is still recovering from a fractured rib and lacerated kidney and he hasn’t been cleared for contact at this point. Something drastic would need to happen between now and Sunday for Ertz to suit up. He carries the “limited” designation at Thursday’s session.
Ertz’s injury was a scary one and deserves monitoring as lacerated kidneys are serious business. According to David J. Chao, there is no way Ertz should play this weekend. Chao is a practicing orthopedic surgeon in California and served as a head team doctor in the NFL for more than 17 years.
Per Chao: Typically, with one functioning kidney, one cannot play contact or collision sports. If the remaining kidney were damaged, a life on dialysis is fraught with problems.
The worry on a lacerated kidney is that the “cracks” can get bigger with a second blow. Even with flak jacket protection, there is no way to fully protect the kidney. And remember, Ertz is reported to have at least one broken rib, so his kidney protection is already compromised.
“I’m going to leave that up to the doctors,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said of Ertz. “Obviously when they clear him, they clear him and then we play, but until that time, I really don’t know.”
Lane Johnson Working Out with Trainer
Starting right tackle Lane Johnson was out on the practice field on Thursday. He was seen working out with a trainer off to the side, not participating in team or individual drills.
The fact that Johnson was moving around and working out in some capacity bodes well for the Eagles. He carried the “limited” designation at Thursday’s session. Halapoulivaati Vaitai took the first-team reps at right tackle at Thursday’s practice while Matt Pryor was in at right guard. This is the scenario that Doug Pederson described when asked about his plan moving forward.
“To not divulge our game plan, we have a couple things there,” the head coach said. “If Lane can work in and play, then Big V can work in at right guard. If Lane can’t then obviously we could put Matt Pryor in and keep Big V at tackle. And then, [Nate] Herbig could obviously get some reps over there if need be throughout the course of the week.”
The following players were all practicing on Thursday: Derek Barnett (ankle), Fletcher Cox (triceps), Sidney Jones (back), Avonte Maddox (abdomen) and Jalen Mills (ankle). Jones, Maddox and Mills were full participants while Barnett and Cox were limited.
Follow the Heavy Philadelphia Eagles page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!