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Eagles’ less-than-optimal injury situation worsens: Miles Sanders and Derek Barnett will miss Sunday opener

Suddenly, Boston Scott is the No. 1 running back for opening day.

With Miles Sanders (right) out, running backs coach Duce Staley is going to have to coach up Boston Scott (left).
With Miles Sanders (right) out, running backs coach Duce Staley is going to have to coach up Boston Scott (left).Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Running back Miles Sanders, the Eagles' most potent offensive weapon, did not travel with the team to Landover, Md., for Sunday’s season-opener against Washington. Also not making the trip was starting defensive end Derek Barnett. Both players were listed as “questionable” Friday with hamstring injuries.

The Eagles had already declared defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (pec and hamstring) out, along with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who is still recovering from foot surgery last December. The Eagles lost Brandon Brooks, their All-Pro right guard, to an Achilles injury in June, then lost presumptive starting left tackle Andre Dillard to a biceps tear in August.

Also, right tackle Lane Johnson is questionable after undergoing an ankle cleanout procedure toward the end of August. Johnson’s status apparently will be decided in pregame warmups at FedEx Field.

The Eagles took advantage Saturday of a new NFL rule allowing two practice-squad callups -- they added offensive lineman Sua Opeta and defensive tackle T.Y. McGill as insurance against the Johnson and Hargrave injuries.

The Eagles have compiled quite a season-opening injury list for a team that has made substantive changes to its training and medical staffs every year since it won Super Bowl LII.

Doug Pederson said Sanders and Johnson were “doing extremely well” when Pederson spoke with reporters Friday, though he did not commit to either player being ready for the opener.

Boston Scott is expected to pick up the slack for Sanders. Josh Sweat ought to get more snaps with Barnett out. The team also brought back veteran DE Vinny Curry late in the offseason.

Barnett, the Eagles' 2017 first-round pick, missed only one game his rookie season, but this will be the 13th of a possible 33 he has missed since then. Barnett has also played with injuries that made him less effective in that span.

The Eagles were eight-point favorites early in the week, but dropped to 5.5 points by Saturday afternoon.