By Kevin McGuire
Before the Philadelphia Eagles took flight for Houston, the team injury report offered more treats than tricks. Running back Darren Sproles (knee) and center Jason Kelce (hernia) were each officially upgraded to probable for the weekend’s road game against the Houston Texans.
Sproles has been bothered by a knee injury that occurred a few weeks ago against the New York Giants. He sat out last weekend’s game on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. For the first time since having to be sidelined with the knee injury, Sproles was cleared for full practices all week leading up to the game this weekend. Sproles should slide right back into the offensive and special teams mix this week. On offense, Sproles will likely be used to give starter LeSean McCoy a break at times, but he can also be sued to open up the field when used in the right spots. The ability of Sproles to break a big play is also what makes him dangerous on special teams as well. Look to see if Chip Kelly will use Sproles on punt returns at some point against the Texans, with the hope of possibly returning one the distance for a score.
Kelce’s return in the middle of the offensive line is significant as well. Having another starter return to the line is always a benefit to the offense. This week the Eagles look to have a starting line including Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and now Kelce. This should help to provide more protection to quarterback Nick Foles and perhaps open up the running game at times. David Molk had filled in admirably for the injured Kelce, but will now move back to the second team unless Kelce needs to sit at some point. Herremans (biceps) was also listed as probable for this week, but he should be fine to go after a full week of practice.
Tight end Brent Celek (back) was limited in practice on Wednesday, but after a full walkthrough on Friday he is listed as probable and should be available. Celek has not contributed much to the offense this season, and perhaps a back concern could have been the reason behind that.
Two Eagles players were officially listed as questionable after a rough week of practice. Safety Nate Allen (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but he was available for a full practice session on Friday before the team prepared to leave for Houston. Allen, of course, has taken heat this week for misplaying what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Wide receiver Brad Smith (groin) was limited in practices on Wednesday and Thursday and is also officially listed as questionable for this weekend’s road game.
The Eagles visit the Texans on Sunday afternoon.
CB Brandon Boykin (hamstring)
TE Brent Celek (back)
OG Todd Herremans (biceps)
C Jason Kelce (hernia)
LB Mychal Kendricks (calf)
WR Jeff Maehl (foot)
LB DeMeco Ryans (groin)
RB Darren Sproles (knee)
CB Jaylen Watkins (wrist)
S Nate Allen (hamstring)
WR Brad Smith (groin)
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.