Ajayi Expects to Return to Practice Monday
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Jay Ajayi was tabbed as the "bell cow" in the Eagles' running back-by-committee approach back in the spring and any concerns about his health usually start with a degenerative knee condition.
So when "lower-body" sprung up this summer when Ajayi started missing practices, the thought was load-management for the knee because his old team, the Miami Dolphins, were often forced to give the veteran running back some time here and there.
Turns out Ajayi's two-week respite from practice was due to a foot injury and the bruising back plans to return to work Monday ahead Thursday's season-opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
"Just something in my foot came up," Ajayi said after practice at his locker on Sunday.
Before the session, a combative Eagles coach Doug Pederson, upset by an NFL Network report outing Nick Foles as his Week 1 starter at quarterback, claimed Ajayi was doing "great" and would be practicing this week.
When the Eagles arrived to the practice field at the NovaCare Complex, however, Ajayi was missing before arriving about 15 minues in wearing a baseball cap and no pads.
Ajayi has been shut down since Week 2 of the preseason at the New England Patriots and is just one of a number of key offensive contributors who have been limited in August, a list headlined by the rehabbing QB Carson Wentz.
Wentz, receiver Alshon Jeffery, left tackle Jason Peters and third-down back Darren Sproles didn't play at all in August and Ajayi, RB Corey Clement and receivers Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins have played little.
"Injuries are part of the game," Ajayi explained. "This isn't the first time the Eagles have dealt with injuries. We had injuries last year and and people stepped up, and we won the Super Bowl. This is a new year, but the mindset remains the same."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen