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November 27, 2019

Eagles injury updates: Jeffery, Agholor, Johnson on track to return vs. Dolphins; Howard still not cleared

Plus, Zach Ertz was a surprise addition to Wednesday's injury report

Eagles NFL
72_11032019_EaglesvsBears_Alshon_Jeffery_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery could return to action on Sunday in Miami.

UPDATE [5:15 p.m.] — The Eagles have officially released their injury report for Wednesday, and it might not be as good of news as we expected coming off of Doug Pederson's press conference earlier in the day.

Let's go through it line by line:

DID NOT PRACTICE

• DE Vinny Curry (non-injury related: Nothing to see here. Next.

• TE Zach Ertz (hamstring): This is obviously the biggest news here, as there was no talk of Ertz being injured prior to this. This is definitely worth monitoring as the week goes on, but if Ertz isn't promoted to a limited participant by Friday, that's bad news.

LIMITED

• WR Nelson Agholor (knee): This is actually a step in the right direction for Agholor, who didn't participate at all in last week's practices, although Pederson made it sound like he'd be a full participant in practice today. That appears to not be the case.

• RB Jordan Howard (shoulder): No surprise here as Howard still hasn't been cleared for contact, as Pederson said earlier.

• WR Alshon Jeffery (ankle): This is actually a bit concerning, as Jeffery finished last week's practices as a limited participant as well, meaning he didn't improve enough over the weekend to be cleared for contact. That being said, despite his limited status last week, there was still hope he could play on Sunday (although that didn't turn out to be the case. It will be interesting to see if he's cleared for a full practice before the weekend.

• LT Jason Peters (knee): Peters was also limited at practice last week before ultimately suiting up on Sunday. This might just be to get the big man some rest. 

FULL PARTICIPANTS

• RT Lane Johnson (concussion), RG Brandon Brooks (illness) and QB Carson Wentz (hand): This is great news for the entire offense, as it appears the right side of the offensive line will be back to full strength on Sunday. As for Carson Wentz, this was expected.


FROM EARLIER...

Finally, it seems like there's some good news on the injury front for the Eagles, as several key starters on offense are looking like they'll return to action on Sunday against the lowly Dolphins. According to head coach Doug Pederson, Lane Johnson (concussion), Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) will all be out on the practice field on Wednesday.

Sure, the Eagles can probably win this game without all of these guys returning, but it will still be nice for them to have a couple of games to get back to full speed before the team's huge game against the Cowboys in a couple of weeks. But not everyone will be out there participating fully on Wednesday. 

Let's take a look at the latest on all the injured Birds heading into their Week 13 game in Miami.

ALSHON JEFFERY and NELSON AGHOLOR

Both Alshon Jeffery, who hasn't played since before the bye week due to an ankle injury, and Nelson Agholor, who missed Sunday's game with a knee injury suffered against the Patriots, are expected to be full participants in Wednesday's practice, according to Pederson. Last week, these two were "trending in the right direction" heading into the game, despite the fact that neither practiced last week beyond limited individual reps. And, obviously, neither was ready on Sunday despite their coach's optimist late in the week.

Now, it seems they're actually moving in the moving in the right direction, and doing so early in the week.

That's good news for an offense that is in desperate need of reinforcements at wide receiver — whether or not you think Jeffery and Agholor have been playing up to their expectations this year aside, this is certainly an upgrade over the receivers they put out against Seattle. Last week, Jordan Matthews was the team's de facto No. 1 wideout. And he's not even on the team anymore. 

Pederson did mention that rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside would still have a role on the offense once those guys return, as would Greg Ward, who was called up from the practice squad last week and had a solid showing for the Birds. 

LANE JOHNSON

Also in the good-news-for-the-offense category is the status of right tackle Lane Johnson, who missed the Seahawks game while recovering from a concussion he suffered a week earlier against the Patriots. According to Doug Pederson, Johnson has been cleared to return to practice, but has yet to be fully cleared from the concussion protocol.

"Lane has been cleared to practice today," Pederson said, after predicting precisely this a few days earlier. "It's part of the protocol, but he's been cleared to practice today."

Typically, a guy being cleared through this stage by Wednesday is a good indication that, barring any setbacks, he'll be ready for the game on Sunday.

JORDAN HOWARD

Jordan Howard's stinger continues to be the most perplexing of all the Eagles injuries. Since injuring his shoulder against the Bears back in Week 9, the Eagles have had a bye and played two games, and Howard still has yet to be cleared for contact.  On Wednesday, Pederson said Howard would continue to be limited in practice to just the individual workouts, just as he has for the last few weeks. 

We wrote on Monday about how this is a long time for a player to be recovering from a stinger, although the only medicine is rest and athletes are not allowed to return until their strength fully returns:

Stingers typically don't last this long, as they're essentially nerve damage cause by a forceful blow. Like, imagine getting punched in the shoulder so hard that your entire arm goes numb and tingles. Now, imagine that sensation lasting for an entire month. If we take the Eagles at their word, that's basically what they're saying is wrong with Howard. If he's out again on Sunday, it's time we start asking some pointed questions about Howard's extended absence — or perhaps that time has already arrived.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, it's rare for stinger symptoms to keep someone sidelined for a month. "Burner and stinger symptoms typically occur in one arm only. They usually last seconds to minutes, but in some cases they can last hours, days, or even longer," they say on their website.

However, the recommended treatment is mainly rest, and athletes are not permitted to return until all the symptoms, like "a burning or electric shock sensation" or "arm numbness and weakness," subside. 

That being said, Pederson was asked if there was any concern that Howard's injury could be more serious, and he said that although Howard hasn't reached the point where he can absorb contact, that doesn't mean his injured shoulder isn't improving.

"It's day-to-day," Pederson said, leaving it open for a possible return on Sunday. "It is going, it is progressing, it's trending obviously in the right way. We've just got to make sure he gets his strength back before we put him back out there." 

We'll see if he's actually cleared before Sunday. 

CARSON WENTZ

Doug didn't even mention Carson Wentz, who injured his throwing hand in Sunday's loss to Seattle, during his press conference on Wednesday, so it's safe to assume that he'll be out there practicing in full. Nothing to see here.

BRANDON BROOKS

Brooks missed most of the Seahawks game while battling through an anxiety attack, something he was very open about on Tuesday (read his full comments here). Among the many things Brandon said — and I highly recommend you reading the transcript — was that he fully expects to play on Sunday against the Dolphins. 

"The show goes on, man. I'll be fine," Brooks said when asked about facing Miami. "When situations like this happen, like I've said, I'll attack it. [inaudible] What happens on Sundays isn't go to stop me. That's still my focus, the Miami Dolphins."'

That's great news for both Brandon, and the rest of the Eagles offensive line. It was clear as day against Seattle what the absences of Johnson and Brooks meant to the Eagles offense, so having them back will be huge to both protecting Wentz and establishing the run against this Dolphins team.


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