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October 16, 2017

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones reportedly 'not close' to practicing, may not play at all this year

One of the trickle-down effects of the Philadelphia Eagles' 5-1 start is how it's impacted the recovery of second-round pick Sidney Jones – or, rather, how it hasn't impacted the injured cornerback's recovery. 

Once a topic of heavy debate, fans no longer seem concerned that the Eagles spent such a high pick on an injured player. That tends to happen when you're alone atop the NFC.

Despite the loss of Ronald Darby in the opener, the Eagles haven't felt the need to rush Jones back from his offseason Achilles' tendon surgery, in large part due to solid play out of Patrick Robinson and Jalen Mills, as well as fellow rookie Rasul Douglas, who had a pair of interceptions in the Birds' 28-23 win over the Panthers on Thursday night. They also expect Darby to return in the coming weeks.

And that's a good thing, not just because the team's sudden rise to the level of postseason contender could tempt them to hurry Jones back. It's a good thing because Jones is reportedly nowhere close to being physically ready to return to practice, let alone play in actual games. 

Furthermore, he may not be ready to play until at least December, according to Les Bowen of The Philadelphia Daily News, meaning the Eagles could opt to have Jones sit out the entire season.

Coach Doug Pederson has stressed that the Eagles won’t rush Jones’ recovery, and a source close to the situation said last week that Jones remained “not close” to practicing. The Eagles have six weeks from this week to activate him from NFI. Once he is activated, they have three weeks to add him to the roster. If that time passes without activation, he reverts to injured reserve and his season is over.

The league source said Sunday that Jones probably is several weeks away from getting back the “explosion” a cornerback needs. The source said he thinks December might be a more reasonable time to expect Jones to be fully functional, which would push the NFI window to its maximum and would raise the possibility that Jones won’t play at all this year.  []

On Friday, Pederson was asked about the status of the rookie cornerback, who was on the sideline for their win over the Panthers in Charlotte, and whether or not a decision has been made about him returning to practice now that he's eligible.

"It hasn't," he said. "Again, [we'll] keep the message the same with him. I don't want to rush him back. He's still doing a good job with his rehab and his conditioning. 

"Again, [we] want to make sure that he's fully cleared, medically, before we stick him back out on the field."

That's obviously the right approach for the team to take. It's just a lot easier to do when your defense is playing well and your team is in first place.

RELATED: Eagles may soon have an overabundance of CBs

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