Pay attention to Stefen Wisniewski's status this week | Early Birds

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Injured Eagles offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski listens as line coach Jeff Stoutland points something out during drills as the team prepares for their upcoming game against the New York Giants inside The Bubble at the Nova Care Complex December 13, 2017. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer

Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles practice at 12:45 p.m. as they continue preparing for the New York Giants. Running back Jay Ajayi is among the players expected to speak with reporters after practice.

  • Pay attention to the status of left guard Stefen Wisniewski this week. He didn’t practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury. Coach Doug Pederson sounded optimistic Wisniewski will play, but Wednesday is often too soon to know. If he practices on Thursday, that’s a good sign. If he doesn’t practice Thursday, there should be less reason for optimism. It was not a good showing for replacements Chance Warmack and Isaac Seumalo on Sunday, although blocking Aaron Donald had something to do with it. “These guys get reps during the week but they don’t get the full complement of reps, so it’s a little different, especially going against a guy like that is different,” Pederson said. If Wisniewski can’t play, it’ll be interesting to see if they go with Warmack and Seumalo. Warmack replaced Wisniewski in the first half and Seumalo played in the second half. It wouldn’t be good for Nick Foles if he’s playing with injury replacements at left tackle and left guard in his first start.
  • Sidney Jones practiced Wednesday for the first time this season. Reporters are only allowed to watch a brief part of practice, so I can’t offer any sweeping conclusions about how he performed. When I asked around in the locker room, his teammates seemed happy that he can finally practice and liked that he was running and working on his press coverage. My guess is that this is just three weeks of practice, and then they put him on injured reserve to unwrap next season. Perhaps if there’s an injury elsewhere or if he’s clearly ready to play, they activate him to the 53-man roster. If they want to give him more practice time during the postseason, they can also activate him to the roster and keep him inactive for games. They don’t need to make a decision yet, but fans’ expectations should be tempered. It’s hard to make an NFL debut in January.
  • I’m moderately surprised that the Eagles haven’t added a third quarterback to the roster or practice squad, if for no other reason than to have an extra arm during practices. Foles and Nate Sudfeld are the only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster or 10-man roster. The Eagles usually have three — they had Aaron Murray on practice squad all year this year, and Sudfeld was the third quarterback throughout this season. Last I heard, there are no plans to add a third quarterback. I wonder if that changes in the coming days.

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— Zach Berman

Camera icon CLEM MURRAY
Injured Eagles offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski listens as line coach Jeff Stoutland points something out during drills as the team prepares for their upcoming game against the New York Giants inside The Bubble at the Nova Care Complex December 13, 2017. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer

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The Eagles haven’t given a formal timetable and every recovery is different, but it’s generally thought to be 6-12 months with nine months often a realistic goal. Considering Carson Wentz‘s surgery was Wednesday, nine months would be around Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season. The Eagles should hope he can be back for training camp. It’s certainly not a given, but it’ll be a good benchmark to try to hit. My guess is they plan on Wentz being the starting quarterback next season, but they return Nick Foles as a proven No. 2, as long as Foles holds his own during the next few weeks.

For reference on the timetable, here’s a quote from former Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder in 2012 about whether recovery from ACL injuries has accelerated (Jason Kelce was the player in question):

“I think overall, no, nothing’s changed in terms of time frame because that tendon that they put in as ligament needs to go through a whole process where it goes from tendon, actually dies off and regenerates as a ligament. We’ve known these studies since the 80s that it takes somewhere between six and twelve months for it to fully mature. I think what’s happened is the surgeries have gotten better, there’s been a few techniques that have changed that maybe could expedite it. But in our case, we’re kind of sticking to that time frame. I think the rehabilitation has gotten better just because my field, with athletic training and rehabilitation, we’ve gotten more advanced. But the bottom line is, that tendon that they put in place of the ligament still needs to come back as ligament.

“We still look at those same numbers. At six months, you’re safer than you were at three months, but at nine months, you’re safer than six months. There’s not a big, big increase between nine months and twelve months but there is some increase. I think the rehabilitation has gotten really good where a lot of players feel pretty good at six months and feel great at nine months and then you just have to go from there depending on where their season falls. We had to deal with that with [former Eagles safety] Colt [Anderson]. We were right at the eight-month mark when camp started and then the nine-month mark when camp ended. I think those things go into it. But the bottom line is, that tendon that they put in there has to come back as ligament and that hasn’t changed since the beginning of the surgery back when they first started doing these.”