Philadelphia Eagles Likely to Be Without Two Starters Sunday Night vs. Cowboys

Bob Cunningham@BCunningham215Senior Analyst IDecember 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after defeating the Indianapolis Colts on November 7, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Colts 26-24.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Right now, the Eagles control their own destiny. If they win out, they will win the NFC East and could even be looking at a first-round bye.

But that's much easier said than done. The Eagles face a hot Dallas Cowboys team twice, including this upcoming week, the New York Giants one more time, and the Minnesota Vikings—a team that would love to play spoiler at this point in the season.

And now, with the news that Winston Justice and Asante Samuel missed practice Thursday, it's looking like closing the season out on a high note is going to get even harder.

Justice hasn't practiced all week because of a hyper-extended knee he suffered in the Eagles' win over the Houston Texans last Thursday night. He was at the NFLPA's One Team Tour in Philadelphia this past Tuesday walking around, so there could be some hope that he'll heal up between now and Sunday night.

Whether or not he practices Friday will be a big indicator
as alwaysas to whether or not he is suited up. If he cannot go, head coach Andy Reid has already said that King Dunlap will fill in for him, as he did when Justice went down during the Texans game.

As it stands, no one seems too optimistic that Justice will be available to play.

Samuel is a bit harder to peg. He looked to be on pace to return last week as he was doing a little bit of running and getting treatment up until the last minute. Limited lateral movement during pre-game warm-ups forced Reid to sit him, but the feeling was that, with 10 days until the next game, Samuel was almost certain to play.

Samuel was limited in practice Wednesday, but at least he was practicing. It was a good indicator. But Thursday, Samuel watched practice for about 30 minutes and left
likely in order to get more treatment.

As with Justice, whether or not he's able to practice Friday will be telling. But after suffering what must have been a set-back in his recovery, Samuel's status remains as shaky as ever.

It's looking like neither Samuel nor the team truly knows the severity of the injury.

If Samuel is unable to play, Trevard Lindley and Joselio Hanson will likely platoon at left cornerback opposite Dimitri Patterson.

The team tried playing Hanson exclusively on the outside against the Chicago Bears (the first game Samuel missed), and that was a complete disaster. Against the Texans (the second game Samuel missed), Lindley seemed to be playing more on the outside with Hanson kicked down to his natural spot in the nickel.

CB Jorrick Calvin (back), G Nick Cole (knee), WR Riley Cooper (knee), DE Juqua Parker (hip) and QB Michael Vick (quadricep) were also listed on the injury report as full participants and are expected to play Sunday.

Parker had missed the previous two games, and Cooper missed last week's game.