Eagles Finally Get CB Ronald Darby Back for Week 11

The Eagles didn't play this weekend, but they still got a pretty big win on Monday morning.  

Ronald Darby is back. 

Darby, who hasn't played since dislocating his right ankle in the season opener in Washington, was a full participant at practice on Monday and, barring a setback, will play on Sunday night against the Cowboys. 

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During Monday's practice, Darby lined up with the first-team defense, a sign that he will retake his starting job on Sunday night. He was unsure if he'll play all game or if the coaching staff will ease him back in. Darby said he'll be good to play all game if that's what the coaches want. 

"I'm just going off what the coaches do," he said. "I got [Jalen Mills], got [Patrick Robinson], I got everybody as supporters. However they play it out, I'm going to be ready." 

Darby, 23, had been a limited participant in practice for the last three weeks, but returning after the bye week was a logical decision. 

Darby said the hardest part of returning from the gruesome-looking injury is simply getting back into football shape. He said his ankle feels "real good." 

"I don't really think about it," Darby said. "When I'm out there, I just try to react and move as fast as possible. It might tweak a little bit here and there, but it goes away."

Monday was the first time Darby had spoken to reporters since just a couple days after his injury. At that time, Darby said the injury would require 4 to 6 weeks to return. It took longer than that. He missed a total of eight games. 

But during the eight games Darby missed, the Eagles went 7-1 and became the top team in the NFC at 8-1. Darby's replacements - Rasul Douglas, Jaylen Watkins and Robinson - played well over the last couple of months. Now, they're adding their top corner. 

"I just know they're going to be there to push me at the end of the day," Darby said. "I've got some shoes to fill in coming out there with them. Them boys been holding it down since Week 1. I'm going to go out there and give it my all and if I'm winded one play or something, I'm just going to take a few plays off. They're going to help work me back into everything." 

Even before Darby returned to the practice field a few weeks ago, he was staying involved with the team, especially in the meeting room, where defensive backs coach Cory Undlin made sure to call on him for answers. 

The Eagles acquired Darby in a trade with Buffalo for Jordan Matthews in August, so the third-year player had just a month before the opener to learn the defense. The last two months off the field have actually helped him understand Jim Schwartz's defense. 

"Yeah, I learned a lot being hurt," Darby said. "All you can do is study, for the most part. I learned everything they do on the field. I see it, I understand it."

Darby will get to put all that newfound knowledge to the test on Sunday night against the Cowboys and Dez Bryant. Darby hasn't been wearing a brace but has been practicing with that right ankle taped up. He doesn't think his speed will be affected. 

Shortly after the injury, Darby watched the replay a few times but hasn't watched it again since that week. He was surprised by how horrific the injury looked on film. 

"Yeah, because I ain't never had an injury that bad before," Darby said. "It bothered me, but I was just happy to know I was going to be back."

That finally happens this weekend.

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