The Eagles won a Super Bowl last year with Stefen Wisniewski at left guard.
They rose from the dead last month and won their final three games after a crushing Week 14 overtime loss to the Cowboys with Wisniewski at left guard.
But there’s a very good possibility that the eight-year veteran will be on the bench Sunday when the Eagles face the Chicago Bears in the first round of the playoffs.
Isaac Seumalo, who replaced Wisniewski at left guard in Week 5 and started nine games before suffering a pectoral muscle injury in that loss to the Cowboys, returned to practice this week and took reps with the first team the last two days, an indication that he likely will be starting against the Bears.
Head coach Doug Pederson said Friday morning that he would wait until after practice before making a decision on who will start.
“The biggest thing is the health of Isaac,’’ he said. “I have to make sure he’s 100 percent. I don’t want to risk anything further with him if we made that move. I want to make sure we get through today before we make that decision.’’
Pederson was unavailable for comment after practice, but Seumalo said he was feeling terrific.
“I can’t wait to get back out there,’’ he said.
Seumalo was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but was a full practice participant. He practiced on a limited basis on Thursday.
Wisniewski was not available to reporters Friday.
It’s a little surprising that the Eagles would be willing to make a move right now, considering how well the offensive line – and the entire offense -- has played the last three games with Wisniewski at left guard.
The Eagles scored 86 points in wins over the Rams, Texans and Redskins. Nick Foles, who replaced injured Carson Wentz at quarterback, completed 77 percent of his passes and averaged 8.5 yards per attempt in those three wins.
Wisniewski did an outstanding job against the NFL’s likely defensive player of the year, Aaron Donald, in the Eagles’ 30-23 win over the Rams three weeks ago.
“They basically made Donald invisible in that game,’’ said NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger. “I think Wiz’s play has been overlooked in this whole late-season surge.
“I’m not saying he’s the sole reason why they’ve turned it around. But he’s been really good inside. I don’t understand why they would change right now given the way Wiz is playing. He’s playing really good.’’
Seumalo, a 2016 third-round pick out of Oregon State, opened last season as the starting left guard but struggled mightily in the first two games and was benched in favor of Wisniewski, who had played in all 16 games the season before. Wisniewski started 11 games last year as well as all three of the Eagles’ playoff wins.
He was the season-opening starter this year but was benched after four games in favor of Seumalo. Seumalo started the next nine games before suffering the pec injury.
It’s easy to see why Pederson and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland like Seumalo. He’s a tremendous athlete with long arms and impressive strength and power.
Wisniewski doesn’t have the physical attributes that Seumalo does, but he’s a solid technician who rarely makes mistakes.
“Obviously, they like Seumalo because of his size and power,’’ Baldinger said. “But Wiz is just such an effective player. He just knows how to play the game. He plays really well with [center Jason] Kelce and [left tackle Jason] Peters.’’
Another reason Baldinger said he would be reluctant to make a move at left guard right now is the health situation of the soon-to-be 37-year-old Peters.
The nine-time Pro Bowler has played much of the season with a biceps tear, and then injured a quad against Houston two weeks ago and played just five snaps. Last week, however, he played 66 of 71 snaps in the Eagles’ 24-0 win over Washington.
“On any given day, JP could come out of the game because of that quad,’’ Baldinger said. “Then you have Big V [Halapoulivaati Vaitai] in there at left tackle and a guy in there at left guard who hasn’t played in a month.’’
Kelce said he has complete confidence in both Wisniewski and Seumalo.
“Both of those guys are tremendous players,’’ he said. “I have incredible respect for the way they approach things, their skill sets, the way they think about the game, the way they practice, the way they go about their business.
“They’re two of the most professional guys I’ve been around. And both are incredible players. We won a Super Bowl with Stefen last year. Isaac’s been playing incredible ball all year for us. Whoever ends up playing Sunday, I’ll be more than happy to play with.’’