Eagles quarterback Jalen Harts suffered a shoulder injury against the Chicago Bears on Sunday that could sideline him for the next two games, NFL sources told the Inquirer on Monday.
After the Eagles’ 25-20 win at Chicago, the injury was x-rayed and the results were negative. Further tests on Monday will determine the extent of the injury on the right side, the throwing shoulder, the sources said.
Initially, the team was concerned that Hurts’ shoulder would be out for an extended period and possibly the postseason. But after more testing Monday, the Eagles don’t consider it a long-term injury, according to sources.
The quarterback ran the ball 17 times on two knees in a loss at Snow Soldier Field. Late in the third quarter, Harts kept the ball on a zone read play and after a 3-yard gain, he was tackled by Chicago defensive end Travis Gipson. It looks like he suffered the injury in the game.
“He just put it out there,” Eagles tight end Jordan Mailat told the Inquirer. “I ran and said, ‘Wait, wait.’ And he said to them: Take me. [bleep] Up.’ And I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And it goes straight back to the hug.
“it has [bleeping] Fight on, man. He is cruel.”
He’s been healthy all season and has been unable to miss an injury while building a resume as the NFL MVP. He missed one game last year with an injury after spraining his ankle against the New York Giants in late November.
Backup Gardner Minshew took over and led the Eagles to a win over the New York Jets the following week. Minshaw could start Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys as an injury replacement.
The Eagles can clinch the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed with a win over Dallas in the Finals. They have plenty of options for both, and may not need to rush the rebound. He probably won’t play again in the regular season, especially if the Eagles come away with the top seed and get the first-round game he needs in the postseason.
This means Hearts will be out of action for a month. The divisional round will be held on January 21-22.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the game, and those things happen,” said Devonta Smith, who hosted the annual coat giveaway benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County Monday night from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Moorestown. “Soon, Gardner will be the next guy. So we have to go in with Him every day, do what we have to do. We need to do any additional work with him to get ready for the Cowboys game on Saturday. [Injuries] They are part of the game.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened.” But we have to roll. The game never stops.”
After dealing with the injury, Hearts stayed in the game and connected on several passes. He completed a spectacular 68-yard deep kick down the right sideline to AJ Brown.
“Jalen showed a lot of anger,” Smith said. “It’s probably the worst feeling any player can have, an injury. You never want to leave the game feeling like you have too many things to control in the game. You don’t want to go out, so you try to play as much as you can.
“Shout out to him because in the end it was his throwing arm, and I know that’s not easy.
After the game, Harts admitted to taking some shots, but downplayed his physical condition.
“It feels good to hear my Anita Baker,” said Harts, who took the stage at the postgame news conference with the musician’s soul music playing on his phone. “On the plane ride home, he brought me snacks, I watched the tape, I learned and I moved on.”
Many of his teammates hailed the captain for his toughness, but said they didn’t like seeing their quarterback make too many tackles. Coach Nick Sirianni downplayed some of the fouls that seemed to take their toll and said the straight tackles looked worse than they really were.
As for his game plan, which features a heavy early pass and few carries for the run, Siriani said he wants to attack the Bears defense through the air, and the Eagles threw for 315 yards and Hurts did just that.
However, when running plays were called in the first half, many were injured protecting the ball due to the zone read. All four of the runs were back-to-back scrambles.
“That was part of our game plan with the defense we were looking at,” Siriani said. “It’s not necessarily quarterback-oriented, but you’re reading things from the back end. … Then they called a couple to run, we felt safe with those, and they ended up being safe from what we saw.
Siriani, who calls the plays, and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen have created a system where Hart’s mobility is critical to the offense. As a plus-one in the run game, defenses must be considered for the quarterback, which has created room for Miles Sanders and other runners.
The Eagles aren’t 13-1 and Harts isn’t an MVP candidate if he doesn’t have the ability to use his legs. But his progress in his second full season as a starter has helped the offense take off and catapulted him into the top tier of quarterbacks.
Hurts missed one game last season after suffering an ankle injury, when Boston running back Scott stepped into the pocket. But he did not return completely. The Eagles put him at the end of a meaningless season. He struggled in the playoff loss to the Buccaneers, though, and walked into the postgame news conference in a walking boot.
The injury eventually led to minor cleaning surgery on the ankle and he was out until March to prepare for the 2022 season.
Staff writer Josh Tolentino contributed to this article.