Jalen Hurts doubtful to play in Week 17 game vs. Saints; Eagles optimistic QB will return soon

It appears as if Week 17, like Week 16, will not include Jalen Hurts. There is good news on the horizon, though.

Hurts is doubtful to play Sunday, but sources told NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback made significant strides in returning to practice during the week from his right shoulder sprain, and the team is very confident he'll return in the short term.

Ever the competitor, Hurts has been pushing to play in Philadelphia's Week 17 game against the New Orleans Saints -- a team Hurts defeated in his first career start in 2020 -- but the quarterback's health and safety comes first for the Eagles, who own a narrow lead atop the NFC standings.

Hurts had been playing at an MVP level leading up to his injury, ranking third or better in five key statistical categories: touchdown-to-interception ratio (first), overall record (first), passing yards per attempt (second), rushing touchdowns (tied for second) and passer rating (third). His departure stood as the first sign of concern for the Eagles, but Friday's news should encourage Philadelphia fans as they prepare for what they hope will be a deep playoff run.

It's safe to expect backup Gardner Minshew to make his second consecutive start of the 2022 season this weekend. In his first start, Minshew nearly led the Eagles to a road victory over the rival Dallas Cowboys, completing 24 of 40 passes for 355 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the 40-34 loss to Dallas.

Minshew will be tasked with teaming with his fellow Eagles to take down the Saints this weekend and clinch both the NFC East title and the conference's top seed.

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