When the news of Eagles quarterback suffering a sprained shoulder in the third quarter of the Birds 25-20 win over the Chicago Bears, the immediate reaction by many observers and fans was to start looking at the reaming three games against the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and New York Football Giants and see how the Eagles would do against those teams with Gardner Minshew behind center.
The Eagles need just one win to win the NFC East and secure the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and the first-round bye that goes with it.
There is at least one win there, right?
At his first press conference since the news of Hurts’ injury was announced, head coach Nick Sirianni told the assembled media corps to hold their respective horses on Hurts not playing Christmas Eve in Dallas against the Cowboys (4:25 pm FOX).
“I'm never going to put a timetable on anybody,” the second-year coach said. “I know you will always try. I’ll never put a timetable on him.
“He has a sprained shoulder, and I don't put anything past Jalen Hurts as far as his mental and physical toughness. There's a chance he could play this week.
“He is one of the toughest guys I know, and he heals fast. He's a freak. His body is not like - pardon me - yours or mine. I'm shaming myself there a little bit, too. His body is not like ours. He heals fast. He came back fast from his injury last year, and I will not rule him out, will not put a timetable on him, and we'll see. We'll see what happens this week.”
Then Sirianni added…
“He'll be ready to go if he can play this week, and so will Gardner.”
Sirianni said the Birds will prepare for both quarterbacks.
“We are going to have to plan for both guys to play,” Sirianni said. ”We're going to have to have a plan for Jalen to play. We're going to have to have a plan for Gardner to play. There will naturally be some differences because, why? “Because there's going to be things different that Gardner likes that Jalen might not like as much and vice versa.
“There's always going to be slight differences because you go through the process with your quarterback who's playing in the game.
“That will mean a lot of extra work for us this week just to make sure they're both ready and that we understand what they both like, but there will be some differences but not huge differences."
The head coach was asked about what would have to happen for Jalen to be able to play Saturday as far as his pain tolerance.
“It's about the healing process,” he said. “With Jalen, he hurt that, as you guys know, in the third quarter, and that hurt him. You guys will talk to him; it hurt. He was hurting. He had a freaking great fourth quarter.
“Pain tolerance with this guy, I never worry about. He's an unbelievable competitor, unbelievable toughness. This is why every time there's a question asked about Jalen, the first thing that you get regardless of how he's playing or whatnot is about his leadership ability and his toughness, both mentally and physically.
“It will be more about the healing with Jalen than it will be about the pain because he can play through anything.”