There's growing optimism that Zach Ertz will play Sunday

There's growing optimism that Zach Ertz will play Sunday

The Eagles are still holding out hope that Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz will be able to play in their playoff game Sunday, but they won’t know until tomorrow. 

As of Friday morning, Ertz had not yet been cleared for contact. 

“We’re waiting on a few doctor results tomorrow,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “If things go favorably, he’ll play. If they don’t, he won’t.” 

With a fractured rib and lacerated kidney, Ertz will need to be cleared by doctors before he’s allowed to take the field. Ertz will be a limited participant in Friday’s practice, as he has been all week. 

Sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark that there is growing optimism Ertz will be able to play, and that he has already passed several stringent tests.

Lane Johnson: Johnson is still dealing with a high ankle sprain that has forced him to miss the last three weeks. 

“Lane is still working,” Pederson said. “I’ll tell you what. He’s a tough guy. He really wants to play in this football game. We’re going to find out more today and see where he’s at at the end of the day before we put out a report. He’s working to try to play in this football game.” 

Johnson was not at the beginning of Friday's practice. 

With Johnson, it’ll basically come down to if he can feel good enough to be a better option than Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has started in his place. The fact that Johnson's ankle is this big of a question mark this late in the week is probably not a great sign. 

If Johnson does play, the Eagles can use either Big V or Matt Pryor at right guard in place of Brandon Brooks, who is out for the season. If Johnson can’t play, Big V would start at right tackle and Pryor would play right guard. That was the combination that finished the Week 17 game in New York. 

Miles Sanders: After missing the first two days of practice this week with an ankle injury, Sanders was practicing on Friday. 

“Miles is good,” Pederson said. “He’ll get some work in today, see where he’s at. But he’s been feeling good.”

Sanders has a low ankle sprain but said Friday that he will be "absolutely" ready to go Sunday.

Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and newcomer Elijah Holyfield will also be a part of the rotation.

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Miles Sanders misses 2nd straight day of practice

Miles Sanders misses 2nd straight day of practice

Updated: 4:24 p.m.

Eagles running back Miles Sanders missed his second straight day of practice with an ankle injury on Thursday afternoon. 

Sanders and Nelson Agholor (knee) were the only notable players absent on Thursday. 

Sanders injured his ankle in the Eagles’ 34-17 win in Week 17. It’s a lower ankle sprain that had some swelling earlier in the week, a source told NBC Sports Philadelphia. Sanders expects to practice on Friday. 

But even if Sanders is able to play on Sunday, there’s a good chance he won’t be 100 percent. 

Some good news from Thursday is that Zach Ertz (ribs, back) and Lane Johnson (ankle) were both participating as limited participants. 

During the portion of practice open to reporters, Johnson was not taking individual drills but instead was working with a trainer, using resistance bands during his backpedal. Johnson has missed the last three games. 

During offensive line install, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was at right tackle and Matt Pryor was at right guard. That’s the likely plan if Johnson can’t play. If Johnson is able to play, Doug Pederson has hinted that Big V would slide to right guard. 

Ertz warmed up with a helmet and even took part in individual drills, running routes and catching passes with the other tight ends. Ertz has a fractured rib and a lacerated kidney, so he would need to be medically cleared before playing on Sunday. 

Every other player who was listed as limited after Wednesday’s walkthrough was at practice on Thursday: Derek Barnett (ankle), Fletcher Cox (triceps), Sidney Jones (back), Avonte Maddox (abdomen) and Jalen Mills (ankle). 

Mills missed the last game but is fully expected to play on Sunday. He was elevated to a full participant on Thursday. 

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Eagles injury updates on Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Miles Sanders, Jalen Mills

Eagles injury updates on Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Miles Sanders, Jalen Mills

Right tackle Lane Johnson has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain but the Eagles are holding out hope that he’ll be able to play in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday. 

Johnson is expected to “take a few plays” at Wednesday’s walkthrough, according to head coach Doug Pederson. 

The Eagles will have a plan on Sunday whether or not Johnson is able to play. Remember, Brandon Brooks is now on IR. If Johnson can play, it sounds like Halapoulivaati Vaitai would play at right guard. If Johnson can’t play, it sounds like Big V will stay at right tackle and Matt Pryor will play right guard. 

Like Johnson, Zach Ertz (ribs, back) was also at Wednesday's walkthrough. 

Ertz missed the last game thanks to a rib and kidney injury. Pederson said Ertz has not been cleared to play but they want to get him mental reps. 

When asked about the risk of Ertz suffering further internal damage if he plays, Pederson said, “I’m going to leave that up to the doctors. Obviously, when they clear him, they clear him. And then we play. Until that time, I don’t know.” 

Pederson also stressed the importance of mental reps for cornerback Jalen Mills (ankle) and Miles Sanders (ankle).  

It sounds like both Mills and Sanders are day to day. Sanders was at walkthrough on Wednesday but looked like a spectator. 

“Gotta be careful early in the week,” Pederson said. “Don’t want to set [Sanders] back at all. But, again, he’s another one if we can get the mental reps from him and then see as the week progresses.”

The only player missing from Wednesday's walkthrough was Nelson Agholor (knee). 

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