Eagles

Eagles Injury Update: Vaitai, Sproles, Mathews, Barwin not practicing

Eagles Injury Update: Vaitai, Sproles, Mathews, Barwin not practicing

As the Eagles got to the practice field Wednesday morning, they were without several key starters.

Right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (MCL sprain), Connor Barwin (right knee bruise), Ryan Mathews (MCL Sprain), Leodis McKelvin (concussion) and Darren Sproles (seventh rib fracture) were not practicing, according to head coach Doug Pederson.

Vaitai’s injury is “more significant” than the others and he's week to week, according to Pederson.

When will Vaitai return?

“It’s hard to say,” Pederson said. “It is week to week. He’s feeling better with this MCL sprain. But not sure exactly, I can’t tell you exactly how long it’s going to be, but I know it’s definitely a week to week injury.”

The other injured players have much better shots at playing this weekend, especially with an extra day before the Monday night game.

Pederson said if Mathews is able to play Monday, “he’d probably have to be more of a backup there.”

According to Pederson, Sproles has a much better shot of being healthier by game day than Mathews. Pederson said there’s a possibility the team could call up Byron Marshall from the practice squad.

“Darren is fine,” Pederson said. “We’re just holding him from practice, just to keep the rib from getting sore on him and all that. He doesn’t need to practice. He’s one of those guys. He’ll be fine with a couple days of rest.”

The Eagles’ other injured players — Terrence Brooks (hamstring), Malcolm Jenkins (knee bursitis) and Zach Ertz (hamstring) — were all practicing Wednesday morning.

Eagles Injury Update: Zach Ertz clears concussion protocol

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Eagles Injury Update: Zach Ertz clears concussion protocol

The Eagles finally got some good news this week. 

Tight end Zach Ertz has cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and will be able to practice as the Eagles begin preparations for the Giants. 

"He's good to go," head coach Doug Pederson said. 

Ertz missed the Rams game with the concussion, although it appeared he was close to being cleared then. 

Despite missing two games this season, Ertz still has 57 catches for 663 yards and seven touchdowns. Only Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski and Delanie Walker have more receiving yards among tight ends. Only Jimmy Graham (9) has more touchdown catches.

Left guard Stefen Wisniewski is "doing good," according to Pederson. Wisniewski left Sunday's game with an ankle injury but will practice Wednesday. He will be monitored, but Pederson said Wisniewski should be able to play this weekend. 

Wednesday is a big day for Sidney Jones. The Eagles' second-round pick, who has been recovering from a torn Achilles that dropped him out of the first round, will practice for the first time. 

Pederson said the plan is to bring along Jones slowly, much like the Eagles did with Ronald Darby a few weeks ago. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said this will almost be like the first week of OTAs for the rookie. 

"All due respect to our trainers, they are not a challenge to cover, and he's only been working with those guys," Schwartz said. 

Pederson said the Eagles will use Jones on their scout team and get him some special teams work. 

What does Pederson want to see? 

"We've watched [Jones] through his progression and his training these last few weeks," he said. "And now just want to see him in football conditions, the true transition of stopping and starting. Making a play on the ball and seeing his instincts and things like that, things we haven't been able to monitor this season."

Torn ACL, players' day off, and Wentz still helps Foles plan for Giants

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Torn ACL, players' day off, and Wentz still helps Foles plan for Giants

They've been together every day since training camp began. Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.

And now that Wentz's season is over and Foles is the Eagles' quarterback?

That won't change.

"He'll be a huge help," Foles said Tuesday of Wentz. "He was around today. (I was) just having conversations with him and how grateful we all are that Nate (Sudfeld), him and I have gotten to spend so much time together developing that relationship.

"He's going to come back stronger than ever. I know his mentality, him as a person, him as an athlete, this is just part of his journey, and we all continue to pray for him. And he's going to be instrumental every single week here on out for this team."

What does it say about Wentz that Tuesday — the players' day off and just two days after suffering that devastating injury — he was at the NovaCare Complex working with Foles and going over what he'll face Sunday against the Giants?

But nobody who's been paying attention all year should be surprised.

"He's fully supportive," Foles said. "We've been together this whole year, preseason, OTAs, and that he's going to be there every step of the way and I know he's got my back, and that will never change, and that goes both ways."

Foles will make his first start since last November and first in an Eagles uniform since November 2014 on Sunday when the Eagles face the Giants at 1 p.m. at the Meadowlands.

A win gives the Eagles a first-round bye in the playoffs. A win combined with a Vikings loss to the Bengals gives the Eagles home-field through the NFC Championship Game.

Foles is 15-9 as the Eagles' starting quarterback, including a 14-4 record since his rookie year.

Wentz was 11-2 in his 13 starts this year and is a Pro Bowl lock and still in the MVP race despite the season-ending injury.

"I think Carson will be a huge support," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "I mean, first of all, I can't even tell you the kind of support Nick was for Carson, and I'm sure Nick will still be that kind of support for Carson going through what he's going through.

"That (quarterback meeting) room cannot, from a chemistry standpoint and from a character standpoint, it can't get any better. That room is the best room. So Carson will add into that. 

"Just getting to know Carson the way we all know him, he'll help, but he's a guy who has a lot of ideas, and he's very engaged like that, as is Nick. So I think Carson will have the maturity to understand, 'Hey, Nick's running the show right now, so just be there to support him in whatever way he can.'"

Because of the injury, Wentz likely won't be allowed on the sidelines with the other quarterbacks and coaches and work directly with Foles on gameday.

But head coach Doug Pederson said he expects Wentz to be with the team Sundays and helping Foles in some capacity.

"A lot like Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters and these guys, he can be around and be in the meeting rooms," Pederson said.

"He can watch the tape (and) be there on gameday and just be another set of eyes for the quarterbacks, for Nick, and just having his input and having him around … it would be a big boost.

"(It's) an opportunity for him now to kind of put the coaching hat on and to help Nick."

Chase Daniel was Wentz's backup last year, but the Eagles released Daniel on March 13, the same day they signed Foles to a two-year, $11 million contract.

Foles and Wentz have become very close over these last 10 months, and Foles said he'll draw on that now that he's replacing his friend.

"Right now, as a teammate, someone who cares a lot about him, you hurt, but you're there to support him, pray for him," Foles said.

"Carson is such a huge part of this organization and will be for a long time and he's done so much for this team on the field and in the locker room, and a big part of coming here.

"Well, my job now is to step in that huddle and keep this thing rolling, and that's what I plan on doing."