Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean is expected to head back to Injured Reserve, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, Dean suffered a Lisfranc sprain against the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon and will see a foot specialist. When Dean left the field, he slammed his helmet to the ground, walked inside with a trainer and did not return.
This will be the second stint on IR for Dean this season with a foot injury. This injury doesn’t necessarily end Dean’s season. Players can be designated to return from IR twice per season.
But the 2023 campaign is certainly not going how Dean expected. The 22-year-old came into the season as the Eagles’ MIKE linebacker and signal caller but got hurt in the season opener against the Patriots and missed four games. Upon his return on Oct. 15, Dean found himself in a linebacker rotation with Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham.
And after just four games in that rotation, Dean (who never missed a game at Georgia) is already hurt again. It’s also worth noting that Dean hasn’t played exceptionally well when he has been on the field.
In five games this season (four starts), Dean has 30 tackles, half a sack, 2 TFLs and 1 QB hit. He’s been better against the run than the pass.
The Eagles basically gave Dean a redshirt rookie season behind T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White in 2022. But the team was ready to insert the third-round pick from Georgia into the starting lineup in 2023. He was the MIKE linebacker all spring and summer and in the first start of the season. But a frustrating year keeps piling on.
For however long Dean is out, the Eagles will rely on Morrow and Cunningham. Morrow didn’t even make the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster out of training camp and Cunningham didn’t sign with the team until August. But both have played above expectations this season.
This injury does leave the Eagles light with linebacker depth. Their only pure linebacker on the bench is Christian Elliss. They do have Ben VanSumeren and Brandon Smith on the practice squad.
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