After missing the last six games, Eagles running back Jordan Howard was cleared for contact after practice on Thursday and will make his return this weekend against the Giants.
“He’s good to go,” Doug Pederson said.
Before suffering the stinger late in the Bears game on Nov. 3, Howard was the Eagles’ workhorse back. That won’t be the case on Sunday.
Even if Howard was in true game shape, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott have been playing very well in his absence. They’re certainly not going to take away Sanders’ touches.
“The challenge is we’ve been planning with Miles and Boston,” Pederson said. “Jordan gives us obviously a third back, situational guy. We understand who he is. But again, we mentioned yesterday, as far as the conditioning and the game shape and being ready and all that.
“You just can’t give him a full complement of plays. We don’t want to necessarily disrupt what we have going. But he is a big piece, obviously, to our offense.”
Howard’s stinger sapped the strength in his shoulder. While some of that strength has returned, it’s still something to watch on Sunday.
“It’s good. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily where he wants it to be,” Pederson said. “But it’s good for playing. Again, we’re going to be smart about it. Full steam ahead with Miles and Boston.”
The Eagles will get Howard back for this game, but Zach Ertz’s status is very much in question as he deals with a rib and back injury.
Pederson said Ertz will be at practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday, but won’t participate in the entire session. There will be times when Ertz goes inside to get treatment.
Ertz wants to play on Sunday but he will need to be cleared and then the Eagles will have to make sure there’s not a risk of further and serious injury.
“Medically, want to make sure that he’s 100 percent,” Pederson said. “Zach’s a tough guy. I know he wants to be out there. But at the same time, I’m not going to risk anything further with him personally.”
Lane Johnson is still getting over a high ankle sprain and seems like a long-shot to play this weekend. Pederson said there is “progress” but Johnson will miss another practice on Friday. He’s expected to run on land (not in the pool) on Friday and Pederson said a determination about his game status has not yet been made.
If Johnson doesn’t play, Halapoulivaati Vaitai will make his third consecutive start.
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