After missing the last seven games, Darren Sproles finally returned to practice Wednesday morning and was expected to play this Sunday night against the Cowboys.
Sproles aggravated his hamstring injury at practice and will miss Sunday's game against the Cowboys, a source told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn, confirming an ESPN report Thursday. An Instagram post from Sproles himself seemed to further confirm his status.
This is tough news.
Sproles, 35, injured his hamstring in practice after Week 1 and will now likely miss his eighth straight game thanks to this setback. The Eagles have basically wasted a roster spot on the veteran running back all season. He will now miss the same amount of games that would have been required if they put him on IR.
Because Sproles was set to come back, earlier in the week, the Eagles waived their backup punt returner, DeAndre Carter, who was then claimed by the Texans. So, now, the Eagles won’t have Sproles or Carter to return punts or kicks this weekend.
On Wednesday, Doug Pederson declined to divulge who would return punts if Sproles couldn’t play but said they had a plan.
The Eagles have a few options on kick returns. Wendell Smallwood, Shelton Gibson and Corey Clement could be possibilities.
On punt returns, Clement is the only other guy who has returned a punt this season for the Eagles and he looked shaky doing it. They also just traded for Golden Tate, who hasn’t been a return man recently but has a good history as one. He's probably their best option and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp seemed to like the idea earlier this week (see story).
On offense, the Eagles will have to continue to roll with Smallwood, Clement and Josh Adams as their running backs in the rotation.
This is a tough setback for Sproles, who played just three games last season before he tore his ACL and broke his arm in the same play last season. Sproles is an all-time great and said he came back for this final season because he didn’t want to go out like that. It’s a shame to see his body fail him when he wanted just one more go.
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