CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks left Thursday’s game against the Carolina Panthers with an ankle injury and was ruled out. The injury occurred in the first half. Hicks said after the game that he was OK.
Hicks was replaced by Joe Walker in base formation in the second half, with Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham taking most of the snaps in nickel.
Hicks also injured his ankle in Week 3 against the New York Giants. He left that game but returned the following week. The Panthers lost star middle linebacker Luke Kuechly with a concussion.
Special teams ace Chris Maragos left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He said after the game the injury was to his posterior cruciate ligament, but his anterior cruciate ligament was sound.
Eagles undermanned at running back
Wendell Smallwood missed his second consecutive game on Thursday with a knee injury, leaving the Eagles further undermanned at running back – especially on third downs.
Smallwood has a knee injury suffered in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers. He has not practiced since that game. Smallwood was questionable before the Eagles ruled him inactive.
With Smallwood out of the lineup, Kenjon Barner took most of the third-down duties in the first half. He struggled blocking for Carson Wentz, at one point getting manhandled by linebacker Thomas Davis. Darren Sproles would typically play on third downs, but he went down Week 2 with knee and arm injuries. Smallwood replaced him before he was injured. The Eagles could also use Corey Clement in that role. Barner’s evening included a muffed punt in the Eagles’ red zone. Cornerback Patrick Robinson made the recovery to save a turnover.
LeGarrette Blount was the early-down running back and finished with nine first-half carries for 39 yards.
Darby on the mend?
Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby made the road trip with the Eagles and watched warm-ups and the game from the sideline. The Eagles’ top cornerback has been out since Week 1 with an ankle injury, but he was seen Thursday without a walking boot. He walked without issue and even danced on the sideline. The initial prognosis for Darby was 4-to-6 weeks, and the Oct. 23 game against Washington will be the six-week mark.
In addition to Darby and Smallwood, the Eagles’ inactives were: tackle Lane Johnson (concussion), wide receiver Shelton Gibson, defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao (wrist), and defensive back Jaylen Watkins (hamstring). Justin Hamilton was in active over Qualls. Defensive linemen Beau Allen and Chris Long were both active even though they were questionable with foot injuries. …Thursday was the only the second time this season the Eagles didn’t score on their opening drive.
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