Ertz is Iffy for Sunday
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles tight end Zach Ertz will not practice Thursday as he continues to deal with a rib injury suffered in last Sunday's 17-9 win over Dallas.
An NFL source confirmed to 973espn.com that Ertz is dealing with a broken rib and the issue with that type of injury is typically pain tolerance if the affected rib is non-displaced.
"Obviously he has to feel good, to feel right," coach Doug Pederson said when discussing Ertz and what would he need to see from the Pro Bowl tight end in order to put him out there in Week 17 against the New York Giants. "Try to anticipate maybe banging him around a little bit and seeing the discomfort there if there is any."
Pederson also mentioned "next week" when discussing Ertz and it wasn't clear if the coach was referring to the Giants on Sunday or a potential wild-card weekend playoff game.
Week 17 is serving as a postseason play-in game for the Eagles. If Philadelphia can win up the Jersey Turnpike the Eagles will clinch the NFC East and host a playoff game against the loser of San Francisco-Seattle on Sunday night. If Philly loses, it has to hope Washington beats Dallas or the 2019 campaign is over for the Eagles.
"If things go according to what we hope is our plan then [Ertz] would possibly be ready for next week," Pederson said.
Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who knows Ertz from his time in Philadelphia, is preparing like Ertz will be out there.
"He’s one of my favorite guys when I worked and coached in Philadelphia," Shurmur said on a conference call. "He finds a way to get open, he stays on the field and he finds a way to catch balls in critical situations, third down and red zone. If he's able to play, he'll play."
With the uncertainty surrounding Ertz, the Eagles brought back veteran tight end Richard Rodgers, who is now fully recovered from a torn plantar fascia, earlier this week.
"He's in great shape," Pederson said of Rodgers. "He's been working out, he feels good. His recall of our offense and terminology has been really good this week. ... So, I would have no hesitation. It would be a limited capacity but no hesitation if need be to put him in the game."
In other injury news for the Eagles, the team hoped running back Jordan Howard will be cleared for contact after a meeting with medical personnel later today. The veteran hasn't played since Nov. 3 due to a shoulder/stinger issue. Right tackle Lane Johnson, meanwhile, is trending in the right direction from a high-ankle sprain but is not expected to practice on Thursday.
When practice began Ertz, Johnson and Nelson Agholor (knee) were not out working with the team while Howard, Fletcher Cox (with right triceps wrapped), Jalen Mills (ankle) and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (foot) were doing some work.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen