Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Injuries affect Eagles at key positions

The Eagles' day-after injury report has never been more extensive this season than it was Monday after a 27-22 loss to the Washington Redskins. Three players are already out for the season, and others begin the week uncertain for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Eagles' day-after injury report has never been more extensive this season than it was Monday after a 27-22 loss to the Washington Redskins. Three players are already out for the season, and others begin the week uncertain for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Long snapper Jon Dorenbos is out for the season with a wrist injury that required surgery Sunday night. Running back Wendell Smallwood has a grade-two sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, a "lengthy injury" that also landed him on injured reserve. Offensive lineman Matt Tobin also has a grade-two MCL sprain in his left knee and was placed on injured reserve.

Safety Jaylen Watkins ruptured a tendon in his left ring finger and could be a candidate for injured reserve, although no move has been made yet.

The Eagles signed veteran cornerback Dwayne Gratz and long snapper Rick Lovato to the active roster on Monday night. They have one open roster spot remaining.

Running back Darren Sproles is in the league-mandated concussion protocol after suffering a concussion on the hit he took while trying to field a punt on Sunday.

Offensive lineman Allen Barbre, who has started in two spots this season, has a right hamstring strain that will keep him out of practice on Wednesday. Pederson is expecting - or perhaps hoping - that Barbre can play on Sunday.

Tight end Brent Celek has a stinger. He will not practice on Wednesday for "precautionary" reasons, but Pederson expects him to play Sunday.

That accounts for seven players injured against Washington. And it doesn't include players already on the injury report, such as right tackle Halapoulivaatai Vaitai and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Both missed Sunday's game.

Vaitai, who has a knee injury, is progressing but is still not certain to return. He's been sidelined for three games. Green-Beckham has an oblique/abdominal injury, but he is expected to return to practice on Wednesday.

Lovato will replace Dorenbos and comes with four games of NFL experience - two with Washington this season and two with Green Bay last season. He's a Middletown, N.J., native who went to Old Dominion. It will be a major change for the Eagles' special teams, which had Dorenbos snap for 162 consecutive games. That tied Harold Carmichael for the longest streak in Eagles history. If Dorenbos stayed healthy for one more week, he would have set a new mark. He signed a three-year contract extension in May.

"He's one of the leaders of the team, so he's definitely going to be missed," Pederson said.

The loss of Smallwood is a blow to the Eagles' backfield and also to the development of the fifth-round pick. Smallwood has 77 carries for 312 yards and one touchdown, and he was expected to remain a part of the offense for the remainder of the season.

"Wendell is definitely going to be missed obviously, because he was definitely having a good season and helping us along the way," Pederson said.

Smallwood's knee injury and Sproles' concussion put the Eagles in a bind at running back. If Sproles is not cleared to return by Sunday, the Eagles would only have Ryan Mathews and Kenjon Barner available. Barner was inactive against Washington for the first time this season because the Eagles wanted to dress six defensive ends, but he will be back on the game-day roster Sunday. Pederson said the Eagles could promote rookie Byron Marshall from the practice squad if they need a third running back.

"That's obviously a possibility later in the week," Pederson said, indicating that the Eagles need to wait for Sproles' recovery.

The biggest concern might be on the offensive line. Tobin might not return this season. Vaitai's status remains uncertain, and Barbre needs to get healthy in a week. Those are the three options at right tackle after Lane Johnson, who is not eligible to return from suspension until Week 16. So the Eagles need to determine who will be the starting right tackle and the backup right tackle. If Barbre returns, he will keep the spot. But if Barbre and Vaitai are both unavailable, the only other reserve tackle on the roster is rookie Dillon Gordon, a converted tight end.

"There's going to be probably an opportunity to work out some guys and bring some guys in and try to fill those spots," Pederson said. "The next couple days will be big days for us."

Tobin's injury occurred on the penultimate offensive play. So he played with a painful knee injury when Ryan Kerrigan beat him for the final sack on Carson Wentz that forced a fumble on the Eagles' potential game-winning drive. Pederson and the coaching staff did not know Tobin was injured. Tobin was the Eagles' backup tackle on Sunday, and if he needed to leave the game they would have moved rookie Isaac Seumalo from guard to tackle and put Josh Andrews in at guard.

"It was just an unfortunate situation, and Matt just couldn't push off the knee," Pederson said.

Gratz, 26, is in his fourth NFL season and last played for the Los Angeles Rams. He spent his first three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting 25 of 37 games from 2013-15. He has 119 career tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one touchdown.

The Jaguars waived Gratz in October. He was immediately claimed by the Rams, who waived Gratz in November. He played three games with both teams this season. The 5-foot-11, 199-pound Connecticut product was a 2013 third-round pick.

Gratz is a Piscataway, N.J., native who went to Piscataway High School, which also produced Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles only have four cornerbacks on the roster and there is uncertainty about the future of the position, so Gratz is coming to Philadelphia at a good time.

Staff writer Jeff McLane contributed to this article.