Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts suffered a shoulder sprain Sunday against the Chicago Bears that could sideline him for the next two games, NFL sources told The Inquirer on Monday.
Hurts underwent an X-ray after the Eagles’ 25-20 win in Chicago and the results came back negative. Further tests on Monday showed the severity of the injury to his right shoulder, the sources said.
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Initially, the team worried that Hurts’ shoulder could sideline him for an extended period and possibly into the postseason. But after additional testing Monday, the Eagles don’t consider it a long-term injury, according to the sources.
The quarterback was hit in a game running the ball 17 times with two downs at frosty Soldier Field. Late in the third quarter, Hurts kept the ball in a zone read play and after a 3-yard gain, he was grounded by Chicago defensive end Trevis Gipson. He appeared to have sustained the injury during the game.
“He just lay there,” Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata told The Inquirer. “I ran over and said, ‘Stay down.’ And he said, ‘Take these for me [bleep] high.’ And I said, ‘Yes sir.’ And he goes right back into the huddle.
“He has [bleeping] fight man He Is hard.”
Hurts has been healthy all season and hasn’t missed a snap through injury as he made his mark as the NFL’s MVP. He missed a game last year with an injury after spraining his ankle with the New York Giants in late November.
Backup Gardner Minshew took his place and led the Eagles to a win over the New York Jets the following week. Minshew is likely to start against the Dallas Cowboys instead of hurts on Saturday.
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The Eagles can earn the NFC East title and the #1 pick in the playoffs with a win in Dallas. However, you have multiple paths to both and may not need to push back hurts. It’s possible he won’t play again in the regular season, especially if the Eagles take the top spot and get that coveted first-round bye in the postseason.
That would mean Hurts would not play a game for almost a month. The divisional round of the playoffs will take place on January 21-22.
After the game, Hurts admitted he fired a few shots but downplayed his physical condition.
“I feel good listening to my Anita Baker,” said Hurts, who took to the podium with the musician’s soul music on his phone at the post-game press conference. “I’ll grab some candy on the flight home, watch the video, learn from it and move on.”
Many of his teammates applauded their captain for his toughness but said they didn’t like their quarterback scoring so many times. Coach Nick Sirianni minimized some of the blows Hurts appeared to have taken, saying the head-to-head tackles looked worse than they really were.
When asked about his game plan, which included heavy early passes and few carries for running backs, Sirianni said he wanted to attack the Bears defense through the air, and the Eagles did so with Hurts throwing 315 yards.
But when running plays were called in the first half, many were zone reads that resulted in Hurts holding the ball. Four of his runs were also scrambles after falling behind to pass.
“That was part of our game plan against the defense that we were looking at,” Sirianni said. “It’s not necessarily quarterback-centric, but you read things on the back. … Then a couple of runs called, we felt safe with them, and they were ultimately safe the way we looked at it.
Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who directs plays, have developed a scheme where hurt mobility is an integral part of offense. As a plus one in the running game, defenses must account for the quarterback that made room for Miles Sanders and the other running backs.
The Eagles aren’t 13-1 and Hurts isn’t an MVP candidate without his ability to use his legs. But his rise as a passer in his second full season as a starter has helped the offense break through and arguably propelled him into the top quarterback league.
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Hurts missed just one game after suffering an ankle injury last season, which happened when running back Boston Scott stepped on his leg in the pocket. But it was never fully restored. The Eagles seeded him in the meaningless season finale. However, he struggled with the playoff loss to the Buccaneers and walked into the post-game press conference in a pair of hiking boots.
Hurts eventually underwent minor cleaning surgery on his ankle and returned to training in March in preparation for the 2022 season.