Eagles Offer Injury Update on Miles Sanders: ‘We’ve Got To Be Careful’

Miles Sanders

Getty ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Miles Sanders #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles jumps into the crowd to celebrate his touchdown during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 27, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Philadelphia Eagles beat the Buffalo Bills 31-13. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Miles Sanders has been limited in practice this week after a new injury popped up.

It’s a new ailment for the Eagles’ leading rusher who has been nursing a hamstring injury going back to the beginning of training camp. Sanders missed Week 1 to rest before being inserted full-throttle into the gameplan in back-to-back weeks.

He has seen close to 80-percent of the offensive snaps in two games while toting the rock 38 times for 190 yards and a touchdown. Is that kind of high-volume usage sustainable?

“I think it’s sustainable, but also we’ve got to be careful,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “I think it’s a fine line between maybe pushing too much and not enough, and then making sure he stays healthy, he stays in the treatment room and doing the things which he does to get himself ready to play.”

The second-year back out of Penn State has been efficient, leading some to wonder why he hasn’t been featured even more. The Eagles were running all over Cincinnati in the first quarter last week, then chose to put the game on Carson Wentz’s arm.

After the game, Sanders took the high road about not getting more carries. And, for the second straight week, he mentioned his conditioning isn’t where he wanted it to be. According to Pederson, Sanders will start on Sunday night but the team is being extra cautious with him. The 49ers’ defense has struggled against the run, surrendering 350 total rushing yards (116.7 per game).

“As coaches, we obviously have to be smart and have a plan,” Pederson said. “If we use Boston [Scott] more or Corey [Clement] more, then we’ll do that, too, and give Miles rest. But right now, all indications are he’s good and feels good and ready to go.”

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DeSean Jackson Out, JJ Arcega-Whiteside Back

Perhaps more alarming than Sanders’ injuries are what to do at wide receiver. The Eagles only had one pass-catcher from the active roster on the practice field on Thursday: slot target Greg Ward. Wentz was throwing it around to practice-squad players like Deontay Burnett, Marcus Green, and Travis Fulgham — and there’s a good chance one of those guys will be called up.

That’s because DeSean Jackson (hamstring), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (calf), Alshon Jeffery (foot), and John Hightower (illness) are all on the mend. Pederson confirmed Jackson would miss his third straight practice on Friday, but Arcega-Whiteside would be back out there. He didn’t provide an update on Jeffery or Hightower.

“He’s getting better. He’s getting stronger,” Pederson said of Jackson. “He’ll be inside, getting treatment and things of that nature, trying to get him optimistic for the game on Sunday.”

Hakeem Butler Not Likely to Suit Up

The Eagles generated some buzz earlier in the week when they stole Hakeem Butler from the Panthers.

They are converting the former Iowa State star from wide receiver to tight end due to his rare combination of size (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) and speed (4.48 seconds in 40). Butler has been getting reps with the scout team this week but it doesn’t sound like he’ll suit up on Sunday. The team has only had three practices to get him acclimated to the offense.

“He’s kind of that hybrid wide receiver-tight end body type that teams have used in the past and someone that we can continue to grow and develop and use him in the offense at points in the future,” Pederson said. “But it’s obviously early with him, but we’re excited that he’s here, and we’ll get him prepared.”

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