Eagles

Eagles Injury Update: Kicker Caleb Sturgis cleared after unusual concussion

Eagles Injury Update: Kicker Caleb Sturgis cleared after unusual concussion

Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis was cleared from a concussion and returned to practice Monday, ending one of the more bizarre injury stories in recent NFL history. 

Before Thursday night’s game, Sturgis was going through pregame warmups without a helmet. He had just kicked a ball, when an errant Donnie Jones punt soared through the air and plunked him on the top of the head. The veteran kicker sustained his first-ever concussion and missed the game. 

Sturgis, 27, said his pregame warmup ritual is going to stay the same, but with one noticeable difference. 

“I’m going to start wearing a helmet,” Sturgis said, cracking a subtle smile. “That’s probably smart.”

Sturgis didn’t think the ball hit him with the pointed side down, but said, “It just felt like someone dropped a weight on your head.“

Sturgis and Jones both said they had never heard of this happening before. After the punt hit Sturgis on Thursday, he was flagged by the concussion spotters and checked out. He thinks he would have been fine to kick in the game, but understands the importance of head safety in today’s NFL. 

“I’m just glad he’s OK,” Jones said. “I just felt horrible because he missed out on an opportunity to play in a game and he’s in competition for a job. He’s done a great job kicking this whole offseason and training camp, so I really felt bad about knocking him out.”

Of course, now that Sturgis has been cleared, the jokes have been coming. Jones said the two shared a laugh about the incident on Monday morning. 

“I’m a kicker, so you always get a few jokes here and there,” Sturgis said. “It added to it a little bit.”

Jokes aside, Sturgis has a very good shot at beating out Parkey for the kicker job. Again on Monday, he out-kicked him. Sturgis nailed all five of his field goal attempts early in practice — from 28, 33, 36, 39 and 42 yards — while Parkey went 4 for 5, missing the 42-yarder wide left. 

Sturgis wasn’t the only Eagle to return from a concussion on Monday — rookie safety Blake Countess was also cleared from the protocol and practiced. 

Defensive tackle Mike Martin (knee) practiced for the first time since leaving practice early on Aug. 5. Cornerback JaCorey Shepherd (hamstring) also returned. Lane Johnson missed Saturday with a sore back but was on the field Monday. 

Carson Wentz (ribs) wasn’t practicing, but was throwing on a side field without a helmet, and is still aiming to play in the final preseason game (see story).

Jordan Matthew (knee) and Aaron Grymes (shoulder) were the only two Eagles not practicing on Monday. 

Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson said he hopes to get recently re-acquired running back Jay Ajayi more involved in the offense as the Eagles head into the stretch run.

Ajayi has eight carries for 25 yards and a 3.1 average in two games since returning to the Eagles following a year layoff. 

A Pro Bowler in 2016 with the Dolphins and a stud down the stretch during the Super Bowl season, Ajayi suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 last year and didn’t play from Oct. 7, 2018, until Nov. 24, 2019, when he made his 2019 debut against the Seahawks.

Ajayi didn't have OTAs or a training camp and didn't even practice until the Wednesday before the Seattle game. 

It's a process with him, but we understand who he is and the injury that he's coming off of, so we're careful with that,” Pederson said. “But at the same time, he's a bigger, powerful guy that we can use in spots.

With Jordan Howard missing the last three games with nerve damage in his shoulder, rookie Miles Sanders has essentially been the entire running attack. But the Eagles are so hesitant to increase his workload significantly that it’s created a situation in which the Eagles just haven’t run the ball very much during their three-game losing streak because they haven’t had a viable second option.

During these last three games, Sanders has 40 carries, Ajayi eight and Boston Scott seven.

This is the first time the Eagles have leaned this heavily on one back in a three-game stretch since 2012. 

During a late-season three-game stretch in which LeSean McCoy was hurt, Bryce Brown got 52 carries and Dion Lewis had four.

The Eagles ran 45 percent of the time in the nine games Howard played and 31 percent since he got hurt. They’re 0-3 without him.

Miles has done a great job,” Pederson said Saturday. “I’d love to get Jay a few more touches and get Boston in the mix so we're not obviously wearing Miles down here this last month of the season.

The current stretch is the first in franchise history that the Eagles have thrown at least 40 times and run the ball 23 or fewer times in three straight games.

Howard hasn’t played since before the bye week and is out for the Eagles’ game Monday night against the Giants. 

Pederson said earlier in the week he doesn’t expect this to be a season-ending injury, but will Howard be able to pick up where he left off after such a long layoff even if he does return?

The Eagles began the season with Howard, Sanders, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles in what looked to be a deep running back rotation. 

Sanders is the only one of that group left. Can Ajayi make a difference after such a long layoff? Sounds like Pederson wants to find out.

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Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Updated: 3:39 p.m.

Derek Barnett and Nelson Agholor will likely be game-time decisions for Monday Night Football, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday morning. 

Barnett (ankle) and Agholor (knee) both missed all three days of practice this week and are listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He was just placed in protocol on Thursday and won't play Monday night. 

And Jordan Howard (shoulder) has still not been cleared for contact; he can’t play until he is and that’s not happening before Monday. He's officially questionable. 

Lane Johnson also missed practice on Friday and Saturday for a non-injury reason but is expected to play on Monday. 

If Agholor is unable to play, the Eagles would be left with just three healthy receivers on the roster: Alshon Jeffery, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. 

“We’re very comfortable, obviously, with the guys we have,” Pederson said. “So if it’s three, it’s three. We brought up [Josh Perkins] a week ago to help us there, so it’s an addition there. We go and we go play. We’ll discuss those over the next couple of days leading up to the game. If we have to make a decision we will. We feel good with the guys we have in that receiver role.” 

If the Eagles do decide to make a roster move, they have three wide receivers on their practice squad: Robert Davis, Marcus Green and Marken Michel. 

While Agholor had his knee injury before last week’s game, Barnett got hurt during the loss in Miami, but was still able to play through the injury and play 50 snaps. Barnett has played the third-most defensive snaps on the team this year, so losing him for this game wouldn’t be insignificant. 

If Barnett can’t play, expect Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry to get more reps. After that, Genard Avery, Daeshon Hall and even Shareef Miller could see a few snaps. 

For the Giants: 

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