The Philadelphia Eagles haven't even had their first full team training camp practice yet and starting running back Ryan Mathews is already dealing with an injury issue. The Eagles announced they placed Mathews on the active/non-football injury list. Mathews suffered an ankle injury last week while training for training camp.
This news hardly comes as a surprise because Mathews has dealt with a number of injuries throughout his career. As Jimmy Kempski points out, he's appeared on the injury report a total of 53 times from 2010 through 2015.
The good news for Mathews is that the injury doesn't appear to be serious. He shouldn't miss a significant amount of time. Still, this injury serves as a reminder that Mathews is very unreliable.
The bad news for the Eagles is that Mathew, who turns 29 in October, is one their best running backs. Though the Eagles have suggested they plan to utilize a running-back-by-committee approach, it's been expected Mathews will be the team's starter.
With Mathews out, Darren Sproles will likely take a lot of reps with the first team unit in practice. The 33-year-old is hardly a full-time player, though, and especially at this point in his career. Fifth round rookie Wendell Smallwood will have an opportunity to step up this summer. The Eagles are reportedly high on his potential and believe he can eventually be a feature back. Kenjon Barner and undrafted rookie Byron Marshall are competing for a fourth running back spot, if the Eagles even decide to keep that many.
Earlier this month I used the word "sketchy" to describe Philadelphia's running back situation. I have no regrets.