Third-year Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts suffered a sprained shoulder in Week 15, sidelining him for the next two games.
Hurts was able to hold on in the regular season finale against the Giants to help his team clinch the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Philly didn’t have to play last weekend in the wild-card round of the playoffs because the No. 1 seed is entitled to a bye week.
The week off was much needed for Hurts as he continues to recover from the injury. But the MVP candidate didn’t seem concerned that his right shoulder would come under attack Saturday during the divisional round playoff matchup.
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«It’s football. I have a reward for me every week that I go out on the field,» Hurts told reporters during a huddle session on Tuesday. «So, I’m going to go out there and just play my game, and whatever happens.»
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said Hurts is in a better place from a health standpoint than he was two weeks ago. Sirianni also noted that Hurts would be a «complete banger» at the team’s roadtrip practice Tuesday.
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«He is better today than he was two weeks ago,» Sirianni said. «He continues to improve and he feels good. I’ll let him tell you how he feels. But I look forward to seeing him go out there and practice today and go through it all today.»
Hurts was not listed on the Eagles’ injury report Tuesday before the pivotal playoff game against the Giants. «I feel good,» Hurts confirmed.
But Hurts isn’t expected to be 100% healthy when play begins at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday. Hurts’ teammate, offensive lineman Jordan Mailata quickly backed up his quarterback, saying it’s his job to protect his caller.
«If he has a reward, I have a reward,» left tackle Mailata said. «It’s my job to make sure the bounty isn’t claimed and to do everything I can to execute the right technique and the right plays and make sure he stays clean and I stay dirty.»
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Hurts had the fourth most rushing yards by a quarterback in the NFL this season with 760 yards. The Eagles went 14-1 in games the Hurts started this season and each of those contests typically featured several engineered runs by the quarterback.
He only carried the ball nine times for 13 yards in the Week 18 contest.
This time around, Hurts will likely have to strike a balance between protecting himself and being more active with his legs to keep the Giants honest, as he did in the Dec. 11 matchup between these two teams: a 48-22 Philadelphia win.
Now, with a trip to the NFC Championship game on the line, Hurts will likely have to balance protecting his shoulder and using his running ability to pressure the opposing team.
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«We know we’re playing a really good team; they have really good defense and they do a lot of really good things, that’s on both sides of the ball,» Hurts said.