Smallwood Nearing Return for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles are 5-1 and will have an opportunity to sweep the Washington Redskins in the season series on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
And it looks like they'll have reinforcements to do exactly that as both right tackle Lane Johnson and running back Wendell Smallwood returned to practice on Tuesday.
Although a scaled-back 10/10/10 session the fact that Johnson is out of the league's concussion protocol after missing last Thursday's game in Charlotte and Smallwood was back after missing the prior two games with swelling in his right knee is a clear indication both are online to return.
Smallwood was in the locker room after practice and felt confident he would be able to play against the Redskins.
“It felt good this past couple of days," Smallwood said when discussing his knee. "...It has been feeling good. I was full-go today, practiced with the guys and it didn’t bother me that much. I am working towards [Monday night}. I felt good today, hopefully, I get better as the week goes and I can play on Monday. I think I should be ready.”
Smallwood claimed that his latest injury is not related to an MCL sprain that prematurely ended his rookie season but an NFL source refuted that to 973espn.com saying the knee is more susceptible to swelling because of the original issue.
Johnson, meanwhile, never appeared in the open portion of locker room access although there is little doubt he will be able to play against Washington.
Halaapoulivaati Vaitai started in place of Johnson against the Panthers and struggled at times but got better as the game wore on while Kenjon Barner has filled in for Smallwood in the Eagles' running-back-by-committee approach, although didn't get the number of reps that Smallwood would normally receive.
In other injury news cornerback Sidney Jones confirmed he did not practice despite the fact he was eligible to come off the NFI list.
Once activated the clock starts on Jones and the Eagles would have 21 days to decide to put him on the active roster or essentially shut him down for the year by moving him to injured reserve. Jones continues his rehab from a torn Achilles that he suffered during the University of Washington's pro day back in March.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long were both excused from Tuesday's practice so they could attend the NFL's owners meeting in New York regarding the social activism they have both been a big part of.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen