Sam Bradford’s injured left shoulder came through Wednesday’s practice in good shape. And while it seems virtually certain that he will start for the 4-7 Eagles on Sunday against 10-1 New England, Chip Kelly isn’t quite ready to make that official.
“He’s alive, he’s good,’’ Kelly said Thursday when asked about his quarterback, who has sat out the last two games. “He threw yesterday and did a nice job.’’
“Again, it’s the residual part of it (that the team wants to see). Is he any more sore? We have another big day of throwing today, so we’ll see where he is.
“But there wasn’t anything where (we said), ‘Wow, that didn’t go well.’ He did a nice job. But we need to continue to see him progress and where (the shoulder) is as far as him being able to sustain that.
“Because that will give you a really good indication of him being able to go into a game and play. We’re obviously not live in practice. We’re not hitting him and tackling him to the ground. He did a nice job the last two days, but today is another big test for him.’’
The Grade II AC joint sprain that Bradford suffered in the Miami game isn’t as severe as the one Bradford suffered to his right (throwing) shoulder his final year at Oklahoma. He injured that one in the first game of the season, missed two games, returned, re-injured it in his second game back, and missed the rest of the season.
Running back Ryan Mathews, who has missed the last two games because of a concussion, still hasn’t been cleared to play and wasn’t at practice Thursday. That means he probably won’t be playing this week.
“They just tell me when (a player) is cleared,’’ Kelly said when asked about Mathews. “He’s in the concussion protocol, and when they clear him to play, he’ll come back.
“But with that type of injury, it’ll never be a forced issue. You want to make sure that the health and safety of the player is first and foremost.’’
Not having Mathews has been a blow to the Eagles’ rushing attack. While he hasn’t had nearly as many carries as DeMarco Murray, he has been far more productive than the 2014 league rushing champ, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He has 12 runs of at least 10 yards on just 76 carries. Murray, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, has 15 on 155 carries.
Asked about the impact of not having Mathews, Kelly said, “We had been successful when we had two big physical backs (rotating) in there. We’re missing a key cog in that right now.’’