The Eagles offense received a boost Monday when tight end Zach Ertz was cleared to return after suffering a rib displacement near his left shoulder in Week 1. Ertz practiced with the team on Monday and will play Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

The return of Ertz is a big addition for the Eagles. The team won both games Ertz missed, but it relies on the fourth-year tight end as one of quarterback Carson Wentz's top pass-catching weapons.

"I felt great for a while," Ertz said after Monday's practice. "But I had to get the MRI to clear me. I did it this morning, and it got cleared."

Ertz was hurt on the fifth play of the season opener and played the rest of the game while the medical staff thought it was a shoulder injury. Further tests the following morning revealed the severity of the injury, and Ertz had been out since Sept. 12. He has felt well enough to play, but there was too much risk until the rib returned to place.

"This whole thing has been out of my hands," Ertz said. "If it was a pain tolerance thing, I think I can play through most things. But this one, it's all up to the doctors."

The risk appears to be minimized now that he was cleared. Ertz said he asked the team's medical staff "tough questions" about potential health issues, learning the concerns with the injury and the chances of further problems. He said that kind of conversation "settles the nerves," and he has full clearance to resume a physical style of play. The injury is relatively rare in the NFL, and there's confidence that he's not susceptible to a setback.

"Obviously, falling on it for the first time on Sunday is a little different than in practice because you want to avoid those situations in practice," Ertz said. "But at the same time, you can't think about the injury. I'll probably fall on it this week and that'll help. Each fall will help. You never want to fall in the game, but I think each fall will help mentally. And I think at this point, all it is is mental."

Ertz said he had a "very good practice" on Monday, catching and blocking without a problem. He will rejoin Jordan Matthews as one of the Eagles' top offensive playmakers. Ertz caught six of seven targeted passes in the opener for 58 yards, proving to be an important safety valve for Wentz.

After recording 75 catches for 853 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games last season, Ertz appeared to be on the verge of a standout season this summer. The Eagles rewarded him with a five-year, $42.5 million contract during the offseason, signaling their confidence in the role he would play for the team. The Eagles offense managed with Brent Celek and Trey Burton at tight end, but Ertz provides a different dimension to the attack because of his combination of size, speed, route-running ability, and hands.

"I'm not out there to take away from anyone," Ertz said. "All I want to do is go out there and help everyone else on the field. And when I'm out there, I think the defense has to focus on me a little bit more than maybe some of the other tight ends. I know the first game I was getting double-teamed a little bit, especially with a linebacker with a safety over the top. So I think that just helps everyone else on the field."

Matthews has been touting Ertz's return for the last few weeks, noting that the benefit of the early bye week is it allowed Ertz to get healthy. At one point during the Eagles' Week 3 win over Pittsburgh, microphones caught Matthews embracing Ertz and telling him, "We need you back."

His return also allows for coach Doug Pederson to expand the offense. Pederson said he's looking forward to unleashing the Eagles' three-tight end formation with Ertz, Celek, and Burton. Burton was injured for the season opener, so the team has not played with all three together this season.

"It opens up a lot of things," Ertz said. "If teams want to match the three-tight end look, then they're going to have to go with big people on the field. And then we're going to have the ability to spread them out. And if they're going to go nickel or other versions of that on the field, we should have the ability to run the ball. There's a lot of advantages to having three really good tight ends, and in my opinion, we do."

Ertz endured a groin injury at the start of last season and suffered a concussion late in the campaign. He had missed only one game in his career because a short week kept him from returning from the league's concussion protocol last Thanksgiving. The September absence was his longest time away from football since joining the Eagles. Two games away sounded like two too many for Ertz.

"I think it makes you even more hungry," Ertz said. "I was able to grow as a teammate, supporting the other guys during these past two weeks, helping Trey and Brent out before the game, seeing what I see on the film. But at the same time, it was so hard to not be able to be out there. And I'm really excited about Sunday."

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm