Eagles' QB Jalen Hurts returns to practice after shoulder injury, status vs. Saints still unknown

Jalen Hurts is back at practice for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hurts returned to practice on Thursday in a limited fashion for the first time since he injured his throwing shoulder against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 18. He didn’t participate in everything, but the progress was a good sign for the Eagles with the playoffs just weeks away.

It’s still unclear if Hurts will play on Sunday when the Eagles host the New Orleans Saints. A win for Philadelphia would clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the conference, which comes with a first round bye in the playoffs.

"We'll continue to see how he progresses throughout the week," head coach Nick Sirianni said Wednesday of Hurts, via ESPN. "Does he have a chance? Of course he does because his body just knows how to heal. He's a freak. We'll see what happens as the week progresses."

Hurts is believed to have injured his shoulder in the third quarter of their win against the Bears in Week 15 after Chicago defensive end Trevis Gipson tackled him right into his throwing shoulder.

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Hurts finished out the game, but he didn’t play last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Backup Gardner Minshew started in his place, and went 24-of-40 for 355 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in that loss.

If Hurts can’t go on Sunday, Minshew will start again against the Saints. The Eagles will then wrap up their season against the Giants on Jan. 8.

While Hurts is having an MVP-caliber season — he has 3,472 yards and 22 touchdowns while completing better than 67% of his passes — there’s no need to rush him back if he’s not totally healthy. Philadelphia has already clinched a spot in the postseason, and Minshew is more than capable of holding the offense down until Hurts can step back in.

Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts was limited in practice on Thursday while dealing with a shoulder injury. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)