PHILADELPHIA ( - The long-awaited return of Darren Sproles ultimately didn't even last one practice as the 35-year-old veteran aggravated a hamstring injury which had already kept him on the sidelines for two months.

Considering there are only eight weeks left in the 2018 regular season, it's at least conceivable that Sproles, who has played in just four of the Eagles' last 27 games due to a torn ACL and broken forearm last season as well as the hamstring injury this time around, has played his last NFL game although Doug Pederson remains optimistic that Sproles could return at some point.

"I am optimistic he could play [this season]," the Eagles coach contended. "That's the God's honest truth."

Sproles is one of a handful of older players who have been marred with soft-tissue injuries during a year in which Philadelphia made wholesale changes to its medical staff -- both with physicians and trainers.

Pederson acknowledged that there isn't a lot of research on these types of injuries and why they might keep occurring but explained things could be worse.

"There's not a ton of research out there on soft tissue [injuries]. So we're doing everything we can, whether it's through sports science or strength and conditioning, our doctors, our training staff," Pederson explained. "We're trying to gather all the information we can, our GPS tracking. And trying to make sure – I'd rather have soft tissue quite frankly than eight ACL injuries, and you lose players for the rest of the year. We're trying to put a finger on it."

As for the changes on the medical staff, Pederson said things have only improved even if he waived punt returner DeAndre Carter under the assumption Sproles would be back against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, a decision magnified when Carter was plucked off waivers by the Houston Texans.

"Quite frankly the bottom line is how the player feels. Where he is at in his return to play and we felt very, very comfortable moving forward to make that decision," Pederson claimed.

"... With change, we have more communication, quite honestly,". Pederson continued. "Because we all want to be on the same page, more dialogue, more conversation, whether it's on-field, off-the-field, after games. I feel like the communication has been really, really good between myself, [Eagles Vice President of Football Operations] Howie [Roseman], medical staff, with the doctors. It's been really great."

The coach wouldn't confirm how the team would handle the PR duties against Dallas with Corey Clement, Nelson Agholor and newcomer Golden Tate among the options.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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