While Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback Jalen Hurts isn't fully cleared to return for Sunday's regular-season finale against the New York Giants, he took a step forward in his recovery from a shoulder injury.
According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hurts took first-team reps in practice Thursday, though he was still listed as a limited participant. McLane added that Hurts is "trending in the right direction" but also noted that there are "a few hurdles left to clear."
Hurts has yet to move past his limited status since he suffered a sprained right shoulder Dec. 18 against the Chicago Bears. Still, any positive news is welcomed for the Eagles, who have lost back-to-back games since the 24-year-old has been sidelined.
"We are all excited to see him back," Philadelphia star receiver A.J. Brown told reporters Thursday. "He is locked in for sure. He definitely had a tempo about him today. He was telling guys, 'Come on; hurry up.' I'm glad he's back."
Brown didn't go as far as to predict that Hurst will start on Sunday, but he expressed confidence in his chances, saying, "I'm not the person to make those calls, but if I had to call it, I'd probably say yes."
Prior to his injury, Hurts was the leading candidate for NFL MVP. The third-year signal-caller had enjoyed a stellar season, throwing for 3,472 yards, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 67.3 percent of his passes. He also added 747 rushing yards and 13 scores on the ground.
The Eagles (13-3) need a win Sunday to clinch the NFC East as well as the top seed in the playoffs. A loss would likely drop Philadelphia to a wild-card spot, so Hurts' potential return would give the team its best chance at securing a first-round bye.