Eagles coach Doug Pederson said running back Ryan Mathews will require surgery for a herniated disk in his neck. Mathews was hurt on the play before the fourth-down run on which he was stopped short of the goalline, in what became a 24-19 Eagles victory over the New York Giants Thursday night.
Pederson called it a "pretty significant injury" for the Eagles' leading rusher (661 yards on 155 carries and a team-high eight touchdowns), who already seemed like a long shot to return for a third season with the team in 2017.
The Eagles go into their season finale against Dallas on New Year's Day with only two healthy running backs, Darren Sproles and rookie Byron Marshall. Wendell Smallwood (knee) and Kenjon Barner (hamstring) already are on injured reserve. The team signed a practice squad running back, Terrell Watson, this week.
Pederson defended his call of a reverse not long after rookie quarterback Carson Wentz returned from being evaluated for a concussion. Pederson confirmed that the quarterback is designated to block on the play.
"He is supposed to block," Pederson said. "Most reverses, the quarterback and the tackle. in this case Jason Peters, are both out in front. He's supposed to block, if there is a guy to block."
Did Pederson hesitate to call that play, given that Wentz had just gone the locker room for testing?
"I didn't," Pederson said. "He was cleared. He went in, came out. How many guys run into a concussion (evaluation)? He ran in, ran out. We talked on the sideline, talked before the play, we talked before the series. He was good, he was cleared, so I had no hesitation."