Sanders suffered a fracture in his right hand against the New York Giants on Dec. 26 and had surgery the next day. He missed the final two games of the regular season but is expected to play a significant role against the Bucs, coach Nick Sirianni suggested.
“No limitations for Miles,” he said. “He’ll be our guy.”
Starting defensive end Josh Sweat, meanwhile, is questionable with an illness. He has been dealing with abdominal pain this week, per Sirianni, and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but was back at the practice facility Friday. Sweat is tied for first on the team with 7.5 sacks.
Sanders did not have any protective gear on his injured right hand when entering the NovaCare practice bubble earlier this week. Asked whether he would be wearing anything on the hand Sunday, he responded “nothing really too noticeable.” Sanders said he tested the hand out this week in part by going through ball security drills where assistant coaches punch at the ball and by catching passes out of the backfield.
“I’m just going to try and protect it as much as I can, but I’m not going to be out there hesitant or timid,” Sanders said. “It’s good enough to play. That’s all I know. It’s definitely good enough to play.”
The Eagles finished the regular season as the top-ranked rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 159.7 yards per game. Sanders was second on the team in rushing yards (754) behind quarterback Jalen Hurts (784) and added 26 catches for 158 yards.
Philadelphia, the No. 7 seed in the NFC, enters as an 8½-point underdog to the defending champion Bucs, but Sanders cautioned people not to sleep on the Eagles (9-8), who won four straight before resting most of their starters in the regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I think everybody should be careful about what they say about us. … I think we’re a very dangerous team,” he said.