PHILADELPHIA – Avonte Maddox was back at practice Thursday and the playmaking, slot cornerback looked ready to go as the Eagles continued preparation for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against San Francisco at Lincoln Financial Field.
After the session, Maddox spoke to the media at his locker and said he felt good.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” Maddox said. “We’ll see as time gets closer how I feel.”
The first real test was a positive one, however.
“I felt pretty good,” said Maddox. “I was running around. First time being able to get back out there and do some things with the team in that way, so, like I said, going to take it day-by-day and see how I feel I when I get ready on Sunday.”
Maddox has been listed on the team’s injury report as limited in both practices this week. Wednesday’s session was a walkthrough, however, so all injury designations were an estimation.
Maddox was out since suffering a toe injury while sacking Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott in the Christmas Eve game in Week 16. He missed Weeks 17 and 18 against New Orleans and the New York Giants, and the divisional round playoff win over those same Giants after a bye week.
Maddox didn’t reveal the diagnosis of the injury (a team source called in turf toe to JAKIB Sports) but he did describe it, nothing there wasn’t significant pain at first and he thought he had a cleat issue.
“When it happened, I kind of like, looked down at my cleat because I thought the cleat was off the bottom of my shoe,” Maddox said. “But I was like, yeah, it’s still there. I jumped up and it was still there, but I’m feeling better.”
Friday’s practice will be key to see how Maddox’s toe responds and don’t be surprised if the CB is listed as questionable for Sunday, giving the Eagles some wiggle room and perhaps a competitive advantage.
My toe is fine. I’m not here to say what [the injury] is, but I’m ready to get back and play, so take that the way you want to take it,” he said.
Maddox also noted when he does return expect a 100% version of himself.
“When I get on the field, I don’t baby anything,” he said. “I cut it loose. …I’m going to be me. When I get on the field I’m always going to be me. There’s no holding back. I’m going to go hard. When you see me out there on the field you’re going to see Avonte Maddox.”
Maddox has suffered through two injuries this season with the state of Texas treating the Pitt product poorly. He suffered a significant hamstring strain in Houston on Nov. 3 and then the toe injury at Dallas on Dec. 24.
In Maddox’s absence, Josiah Scott held down slot duties until hybrid C.J. Gardner-Johnson returned from a lacerated kidney. Since then Gardner-Johnson’s return, he has played safety when the Eagles are in their base defense and moved to the slot when a nickel back was called for with Reed Blankenship handling safety duties.
Maddox had been manning that same dual role when he was healthy and CGJ was out.
If Maddox returns for the NFCCG, Gardner-Johnson will likely be moved back to safety full-time.