Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mathis back at practice, on target for Nov. 10 return

Evan Mathis made a bold prediction when he was felled by a sprained medial collateral ligament in the Eagles' season-opening win against the Jacksonville Jaguars: he'd be back as soon as he could be physically able.

On Wednesday, the first step in that process was complete, as Mathis returned to the field for his first practice session. Though wearing a thick brace, he told he felt little pain or discomfort.

"I could play, if I had to. I went out there with the attitude that I wasn't going to hesitate. I wasn't going to be gun-shy. Even warmups. Full speed, running and it felt great. Hitting comes after that and it was awesome."

Even though Mathis is chomping at the proverbial bit to get back into the trenches, he's not going to see action until at least November 10 when the Birds host the Carolina Panthers. Under the NFL's rules regarding the injured reserve/designated to return list, a player is eligible to return to practice after six weeks but cannot take the field until the eighth week passes. 

"It would probably be pushing it to come back this early," Mathis said. "If it weren't for this designation, if it was a playoff game, or if there was something on the line then I would probably do it.

The 32-year-old Alabama product, who has started in all 48 games in which he's appeared for the franchise, will be returning to a club which ranks first in the NFC East and seventh overall in points allowed, while placing 14th in total yards given up.

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