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Darren Sproles’ season (and career?) is over

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Sad ending.

New York Jets v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Darren Sproles will miss the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2019 season, according to a report from NFL insider Mike Garafolo.

The Eagles confirmed the Sproles news with the following official statement:

Darren Sproles will be out for the remainder of the regular season after being diagnosed with a torn right hip flexor muscle. Darren originally suffered a partial tear of the muscle during the [Week 5] game against the New York Jets on October 6th. He went through four weeks of rehabilitation including a return to practice on October 30th. After extensive testing and participation in practice, he was fully cleared. Darren was able to play against the Chicago Bears on November 3rd without reporting any issues. When the team returned on November 11th, Darren was a full participant in Monday’s practice, as well as a workout on Tuesday. Following Wednesday’s practice, Darren reported the injury and was evaluated. Further testing on Thursday revealed a torn hip flexor muscle.”

Sproles is now the second Eagles player in the past several weeks to return from an extended injury, appear in one game, and then be ruled out for the season. DeSean Jackson was the first. These situations will not do anything to make anyone feel better about the Eagles’ medical staff.

Sadly, Sproles’ injury doesn’t come as a surprising development. He had only been healthy for 11 out of 37 possible games in 2017 and 2018. Concern about Sproles’ durability was expressed when the Eagles re-signed the 36-year-old running back earlier this year in July.

Sproles’ career in the NFL is likely over now, which is sad. He was a special player, as evidenced by his fifth-place status in all-time all-purpose yards. He’s also the only player in NFL history with 30+ receiving touchdowns, 20+ rushing touchdowns, 1+ kickoff return touchdown, and 1+ punt return touchdown.

The Sproles injury might be a case of addition by subtraction for the Eagles. Doug Pederson had a bad habit of overusing the veteran running back. Now we won’t see Sproles getting touches that would likely better be used by, say, Miles Sanders.

With Sproles likely to go on injured reserve, the Eagles will be down to just three running backs on the 53-man rostesr: Sanders, Jordan Howard, and Boston Scott (plus De’Angelo Henderson on the practice squad).

And Howard is currently dealing with a shoulder injury that — according to Pederson — hasn’t allowed him to be cleared for contact just yet. These injuries to Sproles and Howard explain why Jay Ajayi is visiting the NovaCare Complex on Friday. Ajayi, Sanders, and Scott could be the Eagles’ only three running backs for this week’s New England Patriots game ... if not longer. Howard missing time would be a big loss for an Eagles offense that has to rely on their ground game — as opposed to their abysmal aerial attack — to beat opponents each week.

So much for the Eagles getting healthier coming out of the bye week.