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Eagles' Jalen Hurts Doubtful vs. Saints, Reportedly Made Big Strides in Injury Rehab

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2022

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on before kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles have officially ruled Jalen Hurts as doubtful for Sunday's matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

Nick Underhill @nick_underhill

Marcus Maye is out. Major situation against this opponent <a href="https://t.co/Iecj2Grpg0">pic.twitter.com/Iecj2Grpg0</a>

But according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Hurts has made major progress in returning from his right shoulder injury this week after missing the team's Week 16 loss against the Dallas Cowboys.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a> QB Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is doubtful to play Sunday, but sources say he made significant strides this week in returning to practice and the team is very confident he'll return in the short term. Hurts has been pushing to play, but his health and safety comes first. <a href="https://t.co/NZKPFkzXCT">pic.twitter.com/NZKPFkzXCT</a>

Per Tim McManus of ESPN, however, the Eagles plan to rest Hurts against the Saints in what may be a precautionary measure given that progression:

Tim McManus @Tim_McManus

The Eagles plan to rest Jalen Hurts against the Saints.<br><br>The decision came down to a health and safety issue, a source said, as Sirianni referenced today.<br><br>Hurts' functionality in his shoulder has progressed to a point where the team expects him back on the field soon.

The Eagles could clinch both the NFC East crown and the top overall seed in the NFC playoffs with a win Sunday, along with helping to improve the 2023 first-round pick owed to them by the Saints.

Hurts could still see playing time in the regular season if the Eagles handle business Sunday, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

The side note here is the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Giants?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Giants</a> are the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a>' Week 18 opponent. So they'd be wise to handle their business this week against the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Colts</a> and not have to worry about Jalen Hurts being an obstacle to the postseason.

Hurts' injury has stalled a potential MVP season. The 24-year-old has thrown for 3,472 yards, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions, completing 67.3 percent of his passes while taking 35 sacks. He's also rushed for 747 yards and 13 scores.

The Eagles are 13-1 in his starts.

With Hurts out, Gardner Minshew will start for the second straight week. He offered a mixed bag against the Cowboys, throwing for 355 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

He's a solid backup option, and the 6-9 Saints are an easier matchup than the Cowboys. It will be up to Minshew to clinch the top overall seed in the NFC, or the Eagles will face a rivalry game against the New York Giants to close out the season with a lot on the line.