Cornerback Jalen Mills practiced on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a foot injury in the Eagles' game against Jacksonville in London last October, and afterward was brimming with excitement at the prospect of being on the field Sunday night in Dallas for an NFC East game that will determine first place in the division.
"It's like the first day of school," said Mills. "There are a couple of things I need to sharpen up on that I did after practice. It was good."
Mills said his conditioning was "good" and that he is "aiming" to play against the Cowboys. It remains to be seen if the coaching staff will have him in uniform, but the fact that he went the entire practice and that he feels "fit" is a great sign.
"At this point, the mindset is to play the whole game. I've done it before, coming off an injury in college, and so that's always the mindset," Mills said.
The Eagles could use the help at cornerback, a position that again has been ravaged by injuries. While Ronald Darby was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice as he returns from a hamstring injury, Avonte Maddox remains in concussion protocol and Cre'Von LeBlanc is still on Injured Reserve through at least the Buffalo game.
So, getting Mills back, in whatever capacity, would be a help for Rasul Douglas, Craig James, Sidney Jones, and Orlando Scandrick, the healthy cornerbacks on the 53-man roster. Mills remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list and does not count against the 53-man roster. Should the Eagles decide to activate him for Sunday, he would count against the 53-man roster. Currently, the Eagles have 51 players on the active roster.
"I've played this game for all my life and I've never had this stint, or this long of an injury, where I'm off the field," Mills said. "It was hard. But now that I'm out there, I'm excited. I was out there, high-fiving everybody, trying to bring the energy."
Day 1 of his practice week is in the books. Now, Mills will recover and see how his body feels and responds on Thursday for practice. Whether or not he plays at Dallas, Mills is one step closer to getting back into the defense and helping an Eagles secondary that can use every healthy body it can have.
Mills was not listed on the team's official Injury Report because he's still on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Seven players did not participate in practice for the Eagles on Wednesday.
The injury report isn't any better in Dallas. Seven players did not participate in Wednesday's practice for the Cowboys and all of them are starters: nickel cornerback Anthony Brown (hamstring), slot receiver Randall Cobb (back), right tackle La'el Collins (knee), wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle/quad), center Travis Frederick (not injury related), cornerback Byron Jones (hamstring), and left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle).