PHILADELPHIA – Miles Sanders has hit the trifecta of injuries in the last three weeks as he has dealt with an ankle injury, a quad injury last week, and now a broken hand suffered in the first half of the Eagles’ 34-10 win over the Giants.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni confirmed the broken hand Monday and that he won’t play this Sunday against the Washington Football Team.
But Sirianni added that Sanders won’t go on injured reserve. In fact, the Eagles could be without their top two running backs as Jordan Howard left the game in the fourth quarter with a “stinger,” or basically a neck injury.
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If the Eagles place Sanders on IR, his season would be over because he was also on IR from Oct. 26 through Nov. 21 with a sprained ankle. Players designated to return from IR can only be placed on it once in a season.
“Miles did break his hand, and obviously, he’ll be out this week, and we’ll re-evaluate after a week,” Sirianni said. “We’re hopeful that we can get him back at some point this season. So he will not be going to IR.”
That leaves the Eagles with some hope that Sanders could return either in the season finale on Jan. 9 against Dallas, or possibly in a first-round playoff game. The Eagles currently hold the final playoff spot in the NFC with two games remaining.
Despite missing the three games earlier, Sanders leads the Eagles with 754 yards rushing on 137 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per carry.
But quarterback Jalen Hurts is also a major part of the rushing attack. He is second on the team with 740 yards on the ground. Hurts, however, missed the Dec. 5 game against the Jets with a sprained ankle.
Hurts has played in the last two games, but he had just 2 carries for 7 yards against the Giants.
When asked after the game if the lack of carries was because of his ankle, Hurts replied: “That was kind of how the game went.”
If both Sanders and Howard sit out, that would leave Boston Scott and rookie Kenny Gainwell as the only running backs on the 53-man roster. The Eagles also have Jason Huntley on the practice squad, who will now likely get elevated to the 53-man roster for the game.
The Eagles have the NFL’s top-ranked rushing offense, averaging 163.2 yards per game. The Eagles had 130 rushing yards against the Giants, ending their streak of 7 straight games with at least 175 yards rushing.
But they still have at least 125 yards on the ground in nine straight games, the team’s most since 1949 when they did it in 10 straight games.
Scott has 326 yards rushing this season. But he wasn’t used at all until Week 7, when Sanders left that game with an ankle injury.
Scott had 41 yards on the ground against the Giants, second only to Sanders, who had 45 before leaving in the first half.
“Boston is a guy that every time he’s called upon, he’s come through,” Sirianni said. “We have no doubt he’ll be able to do the same thing this week when called upon. It’s great to be able to have that type of depth.”
Eagles separating QBs
Sirianni added that because of the surging COVID-19 cases around the NFL, the Eagles will be placing quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew in separate rooms while they’re in the building … As for other injuries, Sirianni said RG Nate Herbing (knee) could have returned if needed on Sunday. He said S K’Von Wallace should be able to play this Sunday.
Sirianni had no updates on two players on IR in RG Brandon Brooks (pectoral muscle) and LB Davion Taylor (knee). For them to return this season, the Eagles would have to open a 21-day practice window, which obviously is not happening this week. When, or if, that happens, they would each need least a week of practice before they would be ready to play.
Brooks would probably need the entire 21 days since he hasn’t played since Week 2, while Taylor went on IR on Nov. 21.
That would take the Eagles into the first round of the playoffs, at least, making their return highly unlikely.
Contact Martin Frank at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.