PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - After missing the previous two games with an ankle injury defensive end Derek Barnett could be ready to return in Sunday's key divisional game with the Dallas Cowboys.

Barnett was back at practice on Friday after missing the previous two sessions during the week and his progress is trending in a positive direction.

“Derek’s doing well," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said before practice. He’s progressing. We’ll see at the end of the day, but he will work today.”

In Barnett’s absence, Vinny Curry has started at right defensive end with Josh Sweat mixing in on a roational basis.

The news is not as promising when it comes to star right tackle Lane Johnson, who is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and again was absent again from practice on Friday.

Pederson said he remains “optimistic” regarding the tough-minded Johnson but it looking unlikely that the Eagles will allow him to play at a lesser capacity with Cowboys star edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence looming. Halapoulivaati Vaitai started for Johnson and played well at Washington last week and likely will be given another opportunity against Dallas.

“I’m optimistic,” Pederson said, “but at the same time, gotta be smart with [Johnson's injury].”

At receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside showed up on the injury report Thursday with a foot issue but Pederson claimed he was scaled back for precautionary reasons.

“He’ll be good to go,” Pederson said of JJAW.

The same is not the case with Nelson Agholor, who showed up Thursday in the locker room with significant swelling in his troublesome knee

“It’s a real deal,” Pederson said of the injury and admitted that a the conversation about possibly shutting Agholor down is ongoing.

As for running back Jordan Howard, it's status quo. The veteran continues to practice on a limited basis but has not been cleared for contact.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen