News abounds from the Eagles’ medical tents about their two most important offensive players.
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, called “one of the toughest guys we’ve ever been around” by head coach Nick Sirianni, is delaying surgery in an attempt to play in the playoffs, according to NFL Network.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is viewed similarly by Sirianni and his teammates, continues to make progress on his sprained shoulder but no public decision has been made regarding his availability for Sunday’s game against the Saints.
Johnson displayed his toughness gene with the decision to delay surgery to repair a torn tendon in his abdomen.
Johnson was injured with five minutes to play in the Eagles’ 40-34 loss at Dallas on Saturday. He limped off the field and into the blue medical tent.
- “Obviously, it says a lot about how he cares about his teammates, who he is as a teammate, and you know he’s in pain, that he’s just going to do whatever he needs to do to get himself ready to play, and that’s for his teammates,” Sirianni said.
- “Speaks of his toughness and his desire to connect and how much all his teammates mean to him …
- “You’ve heard me say it: Lane is the best tackle in the NFL. I didn’t say right tackle; I said best tackle in the NFL.
- “Obviously anytime you’re missing one of your best players on the team, that’s going to affect you, but we do have a lot of confidence in the guys that will be backing him up and we have a lot of good options in that, as well.”
Johnson is expected to miss the final two regular season games. Jack Driscoll is expected to replace Johnson, although the Eagles could move Jordan Mailata to right tackle and play Andre Dillard at left tackle.
Sirianni said Johnson’s decision was made in consultation with the team’s medical personnel.
- “We have guys that are so tough … it’s a combination of being tough and then there’s also not wanting to let anybody down … same with Jalen, same with all these guys,” Sirianni said.
- “They’re going to want to play through things that they might not be able to play. We’re not doctors, they’re not doctors. We have doctors, we have trainers, we have strength and conditioning staff.
- “It’s all those come into play. It’s what Lane is telling us how he feels, what the doctors are telling us, could it be worse, can he make it worse, all those different things are taken into play …
- “Listen, of course we want Lane to play, of course we want Jalen to play. I’ll never do that and sacrifice the player’s health. Yes, it’s good for the team, but again, never for the player’s health.”
SUPER BOWL PATH
The Eagles are one win away from winning the NFC East and clinching home-field advantage, a one-fewer-game path to the Super Bowl, which could have influenced Johnson’s decision.
If the Eagles earn the bye, they would begin the playoffs on either Jan. 21 or 22. If they do not get the bye, they would begin the playoffs on either Jan. 14, 15 or 16.
Johnson was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl this season. He hasn’t given up a sack since November 2020, according to Pro Football Focus, and hasn’t allowed a quarterback hit since October 2021.
HURTS ‘FEELING GOOD’
Sirianni didn’t talk specifics about Hurts, who missed last week’s game.
- “We’ll continue to see how he progresses throughout the week,” Sirianni said.
- “Does he have a chance? Of course he does, because his body just knows how to heal. He’s a freak. We’ll see what happens as the week progresses.
- “He’s feeling good. I guess what I’m saying is if his body heals quickly, which I’m seeing that it does, he’s better than he was last week at this time because it’s seven days later, if that helps you.”
Last week, Sirianni talked about Hurts’ healing powers and how they were beyond a mere mortal. Sirianni was asked about that Wednesday.
“Is he a superhero or something? How does his body heal differently than anybody else?” Sirianni was asked by a reporter.
- “If you and him went up and shot baskets together, he’d whoop you,” Sirianni said jokingly to the laughter of the media.
- “If you guys went out and you guys raced against each other, he’d whoop you. If you guys went out and tried to throw the football to see who throws it more accurate or further, he’d whoop you. So, his body heals faster than yours.
- “And he’s younger than you, a lot of different things — he eats probably better than you. I’m just singling you out because you asked the question, but it’s all of us in this room.”