Eagles star QB Hurts expected to miss second straight game

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The Philadelphia Eagles will likely be without quarterback Jalen Hurts for a second straight week after listing the NFL MVP candidate as doubtful for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Gardner Minshew is set to make a second consecutive start in place of Hurts, who sprained his right shoulder in Philadelphia’s 25-20 win over the Chicago Bears on December 18, as the 13-2 Eagles try to secure the NFC's number one seed and home-field advantage for the conference playoffs.

Hurts did return to practice Thursday and took part in Friday's session on a limited basis as well. However, ESPN reported that the Eagles decided to give the 2022 Pro Bowler an additional week of rest to ensure he can be healthy for the upcoming playoffs.

"Obviously the first and foremost thing that’s most important for Jalen is that his health is always taken into consideration first and if it’s safe for him to be out there," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni told reporters on Friday.

"Then from there, then you do what’s best for the team, but you first do what’s best for the individual."

Minshew also filled in for Hurts last week against the Dallas Cowboys, throwing for 355 yards and two touchdowns, including a fourth-quarter strike to Devonta Smith that briefly gave the Eagles a 34-27 lead.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars starter was intercepted twice as well, with the last leading to a tie-breaking field goal by Dallas in a game the rival Cowboys ultimately won 40-34.

"Gardner has been in this position where he has to do everything he has to do to prepare, on limited reps, on a lot of reps – all those different things," Sirianni said. "That’s why Gardner is a great pro.

"We have a lot of confidence in him that he’s going to be ready no matter what the scenario is."

The Eagles enter Week 17 with a one-game lead on the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC’s best record and are one-and-half games ahead of second-place Dallas in the NFC East. Philadelphia will clinch the conference’s top seed with a win in one of their two remaining regular-season games.