Kiko Alonso Back at Practice, Expects to Play Sunday
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — A season once thought lost will likely reboot Sunday night in Dallas for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
A presumed centerpiece to the rebuilt Eagles defense, Alonso, who missed the entire 2014 season with Buffalo due to a torn ACL in his left knee, re-injured the same knee against the Cowboys back on Sept. 20 and has missed the ensuing five games.
It was feared that Alonso suffered another torn ACL but Dr. James Andrews performed exploratory, arthroscopic surgery and found that the former Pro Bowl player had partially torn the ligament and the knee remained structurally sound, meaning Alonso was cleared to return after the proper rest and rehab.
He was back at practice Tuesday as a full participant.
Alonso's absence was worsened by the fact that fellow inside linebackers Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans have both missed time with hamstring issues. Kendricks was down for four games and Ryans missed the second half against the New York Giants on Oct. 19 and sat out the loss against Carolina in the contest before the bye week.
Rookie Jordan Hicks, the team’s third-round pick back in April, was forced into action due to all the injuries and has performed admirably becoming one of the front seven’s biggest playmakers. Hicks leads the Eagles in tackles, and has a triple crown as a freshman, already recording an interception, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
“It’s hard,” Hicks said of all the injuries at the position before the bye. “You don’t want to see anybody go down for any reason. I’m hoping they come back quick, but until they come back, you have to be ready when your number is called.”
The logjam at the position will force defensive coordinator Bill Davis to make some difficult decisions when it comes to playing time in Dallas.
Vexing as it might be, however, it's a nice problem to have.
"We'll see that they're healthy," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Tuesday when asked what the ILB situation moving forward. "Their first day back out on the field is today. So we've got five days of training to find out who takes to it, who doesn't take to it, does someone pull up lame on Tuesday or does someone pull up lame on Thursday in the training session? So for us to have a plan today, really doesn't make any sense. We’ll just roll them through today. "
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen