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Jalen Hurts sprains his throwing shoulder


Photo Credit by Philadelphia Eagles

Back in Week 6, it was Cooper Rush dueling against Jalen Hurts. On Christmas Eve, it’s more than likely going to be Gardner Minshew vs. Dak Prescott.

If we are ever going to see Hurts and Prescott during the same game in the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry this season, it’s going to be in the playoffs.

That’s because the Eagles’ QB1 and MVP candidate suffered a sprained throwing shoulder in Sunday’s 25-20 win over Chicago, a victory that improved Philadelphia to an imposing league-best 13-1 on the season. Meanwhile, the Cowboys (10-4) are on the brink of being eliminated in the races for the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the conference after blowing a 17-point lead in Jacksonville.

The Eagles’ magic number to clinch both is just one heading into Saturday’s game at AT&T Stadium.

For the first time this season, though, Philadelphia will not only be an underdog but a somewhat significant one with Minshew expected in the lineup in place of Hurts, who will need some rest and therapy to get the shoulder back to 100% for the team’s upcoming playoff run.

Hurts was injured when Chicago’s Trevis Gipson tackled the third-year QB with just over a minute to play in the third quarter. The 263-pounder brought his full body weight down on Hurts while making the tackle but since Hurts had turned into a runner on the play he wasn’t afforded pocket protection and his right shoulder was driven into the ground on the play.

Teammates, most notably Jordan Mailata, helped Hurts to his feet after the QB was slow to get up. Despite the sprained shoulder, which was diagnosed after an MRI on Monday, Hurts stayed in the game and persevered, completing 7-of-10 passes for 160 yards, including a 68-yard throw deep down the right side to A.J. Brown that led to the Eagles’ final touchdown in the game.

After the game Hurts downplayed the hit and his reaction.

“Wasn’t the first time I was slow (getting up), it won’t be the last,” said Hurts, who didn’t seem in any obvious discomfort after what was a very physical game in which Matt Eberflus’ game plan was clearly tied to getting physical with the Eagles’ QB when the opportunities arose.

Minshew is regarded as one of the better backups quarterbacks in the league with extensive starting experience from his days with the Jaguars. He was acquired by the Eagles last season and started two games, a win over the New York Jets when Hurts was down with an ankle injury, and a loss to Dallas in Week 18 when Philadelphia rested (or manipulated onto the COVID list) most of its key players with a playoff berth already secured.

In his lone opportunity to play with the starters last season Minshew excelled, completing 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Against the Cowboys, with a lesser supporting cast, Minshew finished 19-for-33 with 186 yards, two TDs, and one interception.

While no timetable has been set for Hurts, there is speculation that the injury will take two weeks to heal properly putting him in the mix for Week 18 against the New York Giants. If the Eagles do not need that game, however, it’s almost inconceivable that Philadelphia would bring him back before the playoffs begin. As the probable No. 1 seed, the Eagles wouldn’t play until the weekend of Jan. 21, giving Hurts over a month to heal up.

If the Eagles need the Week 18 game, which would mean losses to Dallas and at home to the New Orleans Saints plus a Dallas win over Tennessee after beating the Eagles, expect to see Hurts for the Week 18 matchup with the Giants

The expected absence over the next few weeks could finish Hurts in his MVP push against Patrick Mahomes. To date, Hurts has passed for 3,472 yards and 22 touchdowns vs. just five interceptions with a 104.6 passer rating in 14 games this season. He has also run for 747 yards and 13 TDs bringing his total touchdown count to 35, matching Randall Cunningham’s franchise record from 1990.

The backup to Minshew in Dallas would be second-year player Ian Book, who was claimed off waivers from New Orleans on Aug. 31 to be the Eagles’ developmental QB after Reid Sinnett and Carson Strong flamed out during the summer.

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