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Jalen Hurts injury update: Will the Eagles QB play on Sunday against the Giants?

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is expected to return from a shoulder injury when they play the Giants on Sunday in the final week of the regular season.

Update:
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is expected to return from a shoulder injury when they play the Giants on Sunday in the final week of the regular season.
TIM NWACHUKWUAFP

The Philadelphia Eagles have noticed a huge difference when playing without their quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts has been out the last two weeks with a shoulder injury and it resulted in the Eagles losing two consecutive games for the first time all season. They only needed to win one game in the last three weeks to clinch the NFC East, the top seed in the NFC, and home-field advantage in the playoffs. With Hurts in the mix, that wouldn’t have even been a question. But since he’s been out, they’ve actually looked like they’re in trouble. Good news for them is, it seems he’ll be back for the final regular-season game against the New York Giants.

Lots on the line for the Eagles in Week 18

The 13-3 Eagles need to win this last game against the Giants in order to get the no.1 seed in the NFC and first-round bye week. They would then play the lowest-remaining seed in the playoffs, either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, or whoever the no. 7 seed ends up being (Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, or Seattle Seahawks). The Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers are both at 12-4 and could still win the top seed if the Eagles lose.

It’s of course possible for the Eagles to beat the Giants without Jalen Hurts, but it’s a lot more likely to happen with him. Hurts has thrown for 3,472 yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions and rushed for 747 yards and 13 touchdowns. If they do start him before he’s really ready though, he could be at risk of getting re-injured.

A loss for Philadelphia though, could potentially drop them all the way to the fifth seed in the NFC. If they lose and the Cowboys win, then Dallas would clinch the NFC East title and the Eagles would face the Bucs in the first round of the playoffs instead of receiving a bye week. If the Eagles lose, they could still win the division if the Cowboys also lose, but if they lose and the Niners win, the Eagles would drop down to the second seed.

When the Eagles lost to the Saints last week, 20-10, head coach Nick Sirianni said that Hurts was “close” to playing in that game.

“Obviously, we’ll take it one day at a time. For me to say right now or today that, ‘Yeah, Jalen’s playing’ or ‘No, he’s not playing,’ I don’t think is fair to anybody because so many things can happen in a week and we’re going to have to evaluate,” said Sirianni. “We’re going to have to see where he is. Nothing changes in that aspect of it. His health is the number one priority and not put him in a position that is going to risk his health. And so we’ll evaluate that as the week goes, and, obviously, if he’s ready to go, he’ll play.”

Hurts’ injury happened in the third quarter of the Eagles game against the Chicago Bears on December 18. He stayed in the game and the Eagles won 25-20. But when it was over, he missed practice for the whole week before missing the game against the Cowboys on the 24th and then the Saints on January 1.

“First and foremost, we’re always going to want him to be healthy enough to not put himself at danger. That’s first and foremost,” said Sirianni. “But also so he can perform at a high level as well. When you’re talking about throwing the football and an injured shoulder, it’s a little different than some other injuries. He’s got to be able to throw the ball down the field, he’s got to be able to throw it accurately, he’s got to be able to throw it with velocity, so he can be effective as a quarterback.”

With Gardner Minshew in at quarterback, the Eagles are 0-2. That’s compared to Hurts’ 13-1. Minshew completed 24-of-40 passes for 355 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and one rushing touchdown against the Cowboys. The next week against the Saints, he completed 18-of-32 passes for 274 yards with one touchdown and one interception, which ended up being returned for a touchdown.

So while it looks like Jalen Hurts is in fact okay to play, is it worth risking him getting hurt this close to the playoffs? Nick Sirianni has a choice to make this week.

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