The optimism that top wide receiver Jordan Matthews would play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals took a turn when Matthews missed Friday's practice session. He is questionable for Sunday's game with a sprained ankle.
Matthews was a limited participant in practice on Thursday, but coach Doug Pederson said Matthews "got a little sore" from that session. Matthews has not missed a regular-season game in his three-year career with the Eagles. He suffered the injury in the second quarter of Monday's loss to Green Bay, tried playing in the third quarter, but could not finish the game.
The status of Matthews also affects whether the Eagles play Nelson Agholor, who was inactive last week but could be in line to return to the lineup on Sunday. Pederson still has not committed to playing Agholor, but he said there's "a good chance" and "everything's leaning toward keeping him active." He would not fully commit because he wants to see what happens before the game and that he also needs to see how Matthews' ankle progresses.
"I plan on keeping him in the mix because of Jordan's situation right now," Pederson said. "He's had a good week of practice. . . So, definitely keeping him alive for this week."
Even if Matthews plays, it's a stretch to think he would be at full strength after missing Friday's practice. The Eagles have kept only four wide receivers active in each game this season, but Sunday would be a good time to play five. The offense was limited in the second half on Monday without Matthews.
"That's something obviously I have to consider," Pederson said. "It really kind of depends on [Friday] and how well Jordan comes out of [Friday] and see where he's at."
Running back Ryan Mathews (knee) and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) are out for the second consecutive week. Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood will be the top running backs, and Allen Barbre will start at right tackle.