PHILADELPHIA - Eagles tight end Zach Ertz will not return to the lineup for Monday's game against Seattle, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
It will be the fifth consecutive game Ertz will miss and the second since the Eagles started his 21-day practice window to return from Injured Reserve due to a high-ankle sprain.
“It’s been good to have Zach back on the practice field,” Pederson said Saturday morning. “However, we’re still a little cautious with him. We’ll get through today, but I don’t think he’ll be able to make this game. I’m hoping that next week he’ll be available.”
If Ertz is unable to return after the 21-day practice window closes, the veteran will remain on IR for the rest of the season.
Ertz originally suffered the ankle injury in a Week 6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. With Ertz on the shelf, tight ends Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers have been among Carson Wentz’s most productive receiving options with the latter proving to be a bit of a surprise.
With Ertz out of the lineup again, the Eagles will likely elevate one of their tight ends from the practice squad, likely Caleb Wilson, who still has another elevation before waivers or the 53-man roster come into play.
Wilson is the son of former Eagles defensive line coach Chris Wilson and played for former Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly at UCLA.
Ertz looked good at the small portion of the practice open to the media on Wednesday but Pederson claimed there was no setback with the ankle.
"No setback. I was optimistic," said the coach. "You just get through a week of practice - and really just feeling Zach out, too, a little bit. There's no setback. There's no nothing. Just the fact that he probably won't be ready."
Ertz has not been happy that the Eagles refused to re-work his contract after he played in January's playoff loss to Seattle with a broken rib and lacerated kidney.
Through six games, the three-time Pro Bowl selection had just 24 receptions for 178 yards, a dismal 7.4 yards-per-catch with one touchdown.
With 3-6-1 Philadelphia shutting down right tackle Lane Johnson for the season and making drastic moves on the offensive line, and perhaps considering one at quarterback, it's not inconceivable that Ertz is taking extra time to make sure he's fully healthy with an eye on a potential trade in the offseason.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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