DeVonta Smith is taking the right steps on his road to recovery from a knee injury suffered in Training Camp and on Tuesday he increased his workload, taking some reps in the "team" portion of drills during the second of two joint practices against the New England Patriots at the NovaCare Complex.
"I'm excited. I feel good," said Smith, who suffered a knee injury in practice a couple of weeks ago in a drill, saying it was a "freak" injury that he went to the ground and an Eagles defender fell on him. "Just coming in every day, just taking it day by day, step by step, continuing to get more comfortable with it."
The Eagles have never expressed any significant concern with Smith's injury as it pertained to his availability for the regular season, but they also didn't want to rush him back into Training Camp action. He took some reps in individual drills on Monday, worked more on Tuesday, and is looking ahead to increasing his on-field work.
There remains no timetable for his availability for preseason game action, and that's fine with Smith. When asked if he felt 100 percent, Smith said, "We're getting there."
Smith said he had a "happy feeling" being on the field and working against a defensive look and competing against Patriots defenders. He's eager to keep pushing for playing time saying, "I'm eager to get every rep I can. Whatever the coaching staff wants me to do, I'm going to do. You can never take too many reps."
The rookie wide receiver has been "locked in mentally and focused on the task at hand" so there isn't any problem with his grasp of the offense and his responsibilities. That's good news, because it's clear that Smith is ready to do more and more on the field. Whether that means he plays Thursday against New England or the following Friday at the New York Jets remains to be seen.
The best news is that Smith feels good, looked great on the field, and is confident about what's ahead.
"I just want to keep getting better and better," Smith said. "Working with the guys, growing with the guys, that's what it's all about."
Here is a video of Smith participating in individual drills on Monday: