Right tackle Lane Johnson has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys with a high-ankle sprain, and the Eagles have four starters questionable leading into the showdown for first place in the NFC East.
Defensive end Derek Barnett, receiver Nelson Agholor, running back Jordan Howard, and cornerback Avonte Maddox head into the weekend with uncertainty surrounding their availability. Agholor, dealing with a knee injury suffered earlier this season, didn’t participate in Friday’s practice. The rest of the players were limited participants.
Johnson is less than two weeks removed from sustaining an ankle injury against the New York Giants, and was in a walking boot last Sunday when the Eagles played Washington. During his Friday news conference, coach Doug Pederson said the two-time Pro Bowler was “trending in the right direction” before the team practiced, but said the club would “be smart” when deciding whether he’d play.
With Johnson sidelined, the Eagles will call on Halapoulivaati Vaitai to try to contain Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. The edge rusher is coming off two consecutive seasons with double-digit sack totals, but has just five this year. One came against Johnson in Week 7, the first time he’s recorded a sack against Johnson.
Barnett returned to the practice field Friday as the Eagles entered the final day of preparation before hosting the Cowboys at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.
The third-year defensive end has missed two games with an ankle injury since he was hurt in the Week 13 loss to Miami. He finished that game but had not been practicing until Friday. He didn’t stretch with the team at practice, instead watching while in pads.
Vinny Curry, the main replacement for Barnett, had a two-sack game against the Giants.
“Derek is doing well,” Pederson said before practice. “He’ll do some work today. So, he’s progressing, we’ll see at the end of the day, but he will work today for the first time in a while.”
Rookie receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was limited the last two days of practice with a foot injury, but the second-round pick out of Stanford is expected to play.
“[He] just felt something in his lower body," Pederson said. "Just precautionary, kept him out. He should be good to go.”