Doug Pederson said Darren Sproles was 100 percent healthy coming into this week before Sproles suffered "a setback" in practice Wednesday.
That means Sproles, 35, will miss his eighth straight game with a hamstring injury.
Many fans think the Eagles ought to move on from the aging running back, but Pederson still thinks Sproles will return at some point this season.
"I am optimistic that he could play. Yes, I am," Pederson said. "That's the God's honest truth."
Pederson seemed somewhat defensive on the topic of Sproles' lengthy recovery and why the Eagles have seemed to have so many soft tissue injuries this season. Pederson said there wasn't mystery surrounding Sproles' injury; people heal at different rates.
At this point, the Eagles have wasted a roster spot on Sproles for the minimum length of time he would have needed to be on IR. In hindsight, that's probably the route the Eagles should have gone with Sproles. Instead, he's been inactive in every game for two months and counting.
That streak was set to come to an end until Wednesday's practice. Now it won't.
"The bottom line is how the player feels," Pederson said. "Where is he at in his return to play? We felt very, very comfortable moving forward to make that decision."
Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones have missed practice all week and Pederson said Mills is "probably a little further away than Sidney is." That means Mills definitely won't play on Sunday Night Football. Pederson left the door open on Jones, saying the Eagles will test him and see if he might be able to go. But don't count on not seeing Jones this weekend. Next week might be possible.
Rasul Douglas will obviously start in place of Mills. Pederson would not disclose who will play the nickel corner spot. It's likely that either Avonte Maddox will slide down from safety or newcomer Cre'Von LeBlanc will be thrust into action.
Despite a Grade 2 MCL sprain, Johnson has practiced all week and is set to play through the injury on Sunday night.
"He's doing well," Pederson said.
Guys on IR
Pederson agreed with the assertion that the Eagles have three guys on injured reserve who are candidates to return this season: Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins and Richard Rodgers.
Hollins and Rodgers are eligible to return now. Wallace will be eligible to return next week. There's no indication the team is ready to bring back any of them just yet.
"Again, we're going to make sure they're 100 percent and we've got to make sure that it's the right time of the year, which player it is," Pederson said. "Once you make one, you've only got one left. We've got to make some tough decisions down the stretch."
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