ronald darby

Ronald Darby gets cheers from fellow DBs in 1st practice since injury

Ronald Darby gets cheers from fellow DBs in 1st practice since injury

There was a little more buzz around the Eagles' defensive backs at practice on Thursday. 

All eyes were on No. 41. 

For the first time since he left the season opener in Washington following a gruesome right ankle dislocation, cornerback Ronald Darby practiced on Thursday. He was limited and it seems rather unlikely he'll be able to play on Monday night, but it was still a boost for his teammates to see him back out on the field. 

"We were all just joking and letting him know the spotlight was on him," safety Rodney McLeod said. 

Doug Pederson said the "stars have to align" for Darby to play on Monday night against Washington (see story). So it seems unlikely. Still, it was a good sign to get him back to practice.

Darby was with the team from the start of Thursday's practice and went through the entire warmup and stretching period. He wore high black socks and didn't appear to have any sort of brace on his injured right ankle. 

When the Eagles broke into the individual portion of practice, Darby went through all of the backpedal drills; he was the last to go through each. 

So how did he look? 

"He looked good," corner Jalen Mills said. "The guy had some clean breaks. We did a couple deep-ball drills, you know, he jumped up and high-pointed the ball. A lot of DBs, we got excited when we saw him, cheering him on. He looked good."

Mills was maybe a little overly excited about how good Darby looked on Thursday. It was, after all, just his first day back. 

Defensive back Jaylen Watkins said Darby looked "better" but acknowledged it's "going to take time." Watkins pointed out Darby's recovery is largely about being able to trust his ankle and getting back into a groove. 

"He didn't do much but I think this is his first time being back with us in that capacity," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "I think he looked decent. I don't really know what to compare it to. Hopefully he feels good. I'm just concerned with him not having any kind of setbacks. I think he looked fine." 

What all of his defensive back teammates agreed on was that it was pretty crazy to see Darby practicing just seven weeks after he was carted off the field in Washington. At the time of the gruesome injury, it looked to be pretty obvious that Darby's season was over. 

When the play happened, Mills was on the other side of the field so he didn't see how bad the injury looked until after the game. He credited the training staff and Darby's dedication for getting him back on the field so soon. 

"In that moment, what you feel, for him to even be back out there at all, to have a possibility to get him back, is great," Jenkins said. "Because I think at first glance, everybody probably thought he was done for the season. Obviously, whenever he is 100 percent, he's going to instantly make our defense better." 

Ronald Darby returns to practice for Eagles, status for Monday uncertain

Ronald Darby returns to practice for Eagles, status for Monday uncertain

There's some good news coming out of the NovaCare Complex on Thursday: Ronald Darby is back at practice. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said Darby, who has missed every game since the opener with a dislocated ankle, will practice this week, at least as a limited participant. 

"I can't commit at this time if he's going to be ready (to play on Monday night)," Pederson said, "but we're going to give him some reps this week and see where he's at but he's doing extremely well."

Darby will be practicing this week but it seems unlikely he'll play on Monday night at the Linc. Pederson said "stars (would) have to align" for that to happen. 

Still, practicing is a great sign.

Darby was carted off the field in the second quarter of the opener against Washington with a pretty gruesome-looking ankle injury. It looked like his season was over. But the Eagles put a "4-6 week" label on the injury and there's a reason they didn't put him on IR. 

The injury was a dislocated ankle that didn't need surgery. That last time he spoke to reporters, in mid-September, Darby was confident he'd return in 4-6 weeks. 

So what would Darby have to show to play this week? 

"Obviously with the time off, there's a lot of things that are involved, conditioning No. 1," Pederson said. "That's probably the most important thing. How sore does he get during the week? And by no means do I want to rush him back and just say 'hey, we said this is the week, let's go play.' There's a lot of factors that have to be sort of right, stars have to align for him to be ready to go. But this week will be good just to get back and begin that process of practice and getting that conditioning back."

Darby's return to practice isn't the only good news on Thursday. Jordan Hicks (ankle) and Wendell Smallwood (knee) will also practice. 

Hicks left last week's game early with that ankle injury but Pederson said Hicks is "fine " and there "should be no issues."  

Smallwood has missed the last two games with a knee injury he suffered in LA against the Chargers. Pederson said Smallwood will be limited to start the week but they'll ramp it up as the week goes on. 

Eagles Injury Update: Sounds like Jordan Hicks is going to be OK

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles Injury Update: Sounds like Jordan Hicks is going to be OK

There was some good news to come out of Doug Pederson's press conference on Friday afternoon. 

It sounds like Jordan Hicks is going to be OK. 

The Eagles' starting middle linebacker didn't return for the second half of Thursday night's game after suffering an ankle injury. Hicks was evaluated by the training staff on Friday morning. 

"Jordan's gonna be OK," Pederson said. "We'll expect him this next week in practice."

Thanks to playing a Thursday game followed by a Monday night game, Hicks will have a few extra days to heal before facing Washington. 

While the news is good for Hicks, it doesn't sound good for special teams ace Chris Maragos. Pederson said Maragos still needs to have a few more tests to determine the significance of his injuries, but it's pretty clear those injuries to his right knee are significant.  

According to Daily News' columnist Marcus Hayes, Maragos said he thinks he tore his PCL and ACL. Maragos walked out of the Eagles' locker room in Charlotte on Thursday night with a giant brace on his leg. 

This upcoming week could be a big one for injured cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Ronald Darby. 

We'll start with Jones, who is on the non-football Injury list as he recovers from the Achilles injury he suffered at the Washington pro day. By the rules of the NFI, Jones is eligible to begin practicing this week, but no decision has been made yet.  

"Again, keep the message the same with him," Pederson said. "I don't want to rush him back. He's still doing a good job with his rehab and his conditioning. Want to make sure he's fully cleared medically before we stick him back on the field."

The upcoming Washington game had been pegged as a possible return game for Darby, who has been out since dislocating his ankle in the opener. Pederson said Darby has been doing well and running more. 

But will he practice next week? 

"As of right now, probably not," Pederson said. "But again, he's close. We'll see next Monday when they get back where he's at again and make another evaluation at that time." 

Wendell Smallwood (knee), who has missed the last two games, is getting better, according to Pederson. 

In Smallwood's absence, the Eagles have been down to LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement and Kenjon Barner. 

"Wendell's doing really good," Pederson said. "He's another one that we took on the trip and rehabbed him and got him some treatment and stuff. He's another one that, on Monday when they get back in, we'll evaluate. I'll tell you, he's close. And then on Tuesday when the players are in the building, he'll see. He's got some time to rest. I would anticipate him maybe doing a little something next week in practice but not 100 percent yet with him."

Smallwood is looking like a possible game-time decision for the Oct. 23 game at the Linc.