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Ronald Darby Limited In Practice; Teammates Impressed By Comeback

Posted Oct 19, 2017

There’s a possibility that a handful of players will be coming back for the Eagles on Monday night against the Redskins, but none may be more anticipated than the return of cornerback Ronald Darby.

Darby was back on the fields at the NovaCare Complex for his first practice since he suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the season opener against Washington.

“Compared to in that moment, for him to be back out there at all and have the possibility to come back is great,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins. “At first glance, everybody thought he was probably done for the season.”

Darby’s official status remains in question but the third-year cornerback is right on schedule. Monday’s game was the original timetable that Darby was given but head coach Doug Pederson will not rush back his No. 1 corner.

“I can't commit at this time if he's going to be ready. But we're going to get him some reps this week and see where he's at. But he's doing extremely well,” Pederson said of Darby. "By no means do I want to rush him back and just say, ‘Hey, we said this is the week, or whatever, let's go play.'"

Darby’s injury allowed the Eagles to see exactly what they had in their secondary. Veteran cornerback Patrick Robinson has been a bright spot and a playmaker around the football while rookie Rasul Douglas has made significant strides since the spring. It won’t be too long before the starting Eagles secondary is at full strength.

“He looked good considering what happened. You would think that he would never return but you have to credit his hard work and the trainers getting him ready,” said safety Rodney McLeod. “Hopefully, we see him within the next few weeks. I don’t know what the timetable is but he looks good.”

As for the other Eagles injuries, Lane Johnson was a full participant Thursday after he sat out of the win against Carolina with a concussion. Defensive end Brandon Graham (shoulder) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (calf) are both fine and practiced fully on Thursday.

One of the big questions that remain is the status of running back Wendell Smallwood who could end his two-game absence due to a knee injury. Smallwood participated fully in both Tuesday’s and Thursday’s practices.

“Right now, he's in a really good position to help us again,” Pederson said. “I do see him back kind of in the same role that he had prior to the injury. But it's all based on how he practices this week, and we’ll see where his conditioning is, also, as we go throughout the week.”

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