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NFL notebook: Banged-up Eagles cancel practice

PHILADELPHIA — With two games in five days coming up, the Philadelphia Eagles eased into preparations.

Coach Doug Pederson canceled practice Wednesday and the injury-plagued team held a walkthrough instead. Six players didn’t participate and six others were limited.

“I want these guys as fresh as possible obviously for these next two weeks,” Pederson said. “I have to think of the big picture here, obviously. It’s early in our season, keeping guys as fresh as possible now so we can make a push later in the season. So that’s also a factor in this decision.”

Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, tight end Dallas Goedert, running back Corey Clement and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan were hurt in a 24-20 loss at Atlanta.

Quarterback Carson Wentz took a hard shot to the chest and was later checked for a concussion but he said he’s fine.

Jackson and Jeffery played only a few snaps against the Falcons before going to the sideline. Jackson has an abdominal strain and Jeffery has a calf strain. Goedert was ruled out before the game started because of a calf injury. Clement injured his shoulder on a kickoff return. Jernigan broke his foot and will be out for a while.

The Eagles (1-1) host the Detroit Lions (1-0-1) on Sunday. They visit the Packers (2-0) on Thursday night the following week.

“We understand that we could miss a player or two, but at the same time, we can’t focus on that,” Pederson said.

“We have to get the next guy ready to go, and we go in and coach that player up and get him prepared. But from a game-plan standpoint, we’re playing a good football team in the Lions, and they’re coming off a victory, and we have to be prepared.”

AB investigation

Two people with knowledge of the investigation into Antonio Brown being accused of sexual assault tell The Associated Press that one of the accusers has met with NFL investigators and that there is no timetable for concluding the probe.

Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of the sensitivity of the case.

A spokesman for the district attorney’s office in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, said: “Our office, along with the Allegheny County Police Department, made contact with counsel for the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit involving Antonio Brown. Procedurally, it appears there is a statute of limitations issue in moving forward with any inquiry involving the Allegheny County allegation mentioned in the lawsuit.”

The allegations by Britney Taylor made against Brown in a civil lawsuit became known days before the four-time All-Pro wide receiver made his debut with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Taylor had a lengthy meeting with the NFL this week.

Taylor has accused Brown of sexually assaulting her on three occasions, including rape, in the lawsuit filed in South Florida. A second woman has alleged that Brown exposed himself to her while she was working on a mural for him at his Pittsburgh home.

Elsewhere:

n Sam Darnold is back at the New York Jets facility, feeling healthier by the day.

Patience and caution are the two key plays in his game plan right now, but the second-year quarterback is looking forward to when he can get back under center.

That could come as soon as Week 5 at Philadelphia on Oct. 6 — which would easily beat the doom-and-gloom predictions that Darnold could be out much longer.

“I have full confidence I’ll be ready for the Eagles game,” Darnold said Wednesday. “But I’m not going to promise anything. That’s the goal the doctors have set, and that’s the goal I’ve set for the game to be back for.”

And, really, he can’t at this point. It’s all up to how his body responds and continues to heal from a bout with mononucleosis.

n As Drew Brees underwent surgery on his injured throwing hand Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles, his New Orleans Saints teammates went about business mostly as usual preparing for their first game without the star quarterback.

The plan remains to be a Super Bowl contender. Nothing’s changed.

“We still the Saints, right? All right,” linebacker Craig Robertson said.

Brees will miss several weeks while recovering from surgery to repair a ligament near his right thumb. Coach Sean Payton wouldn’t discuss a timetable for Brees’ return, but said it’s unlikely he will be placed on injured reserve. That means doctors think Brees will be able to return this season and his teammates just need to hold it together till his return.

Brees got hurt while attempting a pass in Sunday’s 27-9 loss at the Los Angeles Rams. His hand collided with defensive lineman Aaron Donald’s hand on his follow through, bending several fingers back.

Brees was unable to grip the ball without pain on the sideline. Backup Teddy Bridgewater finished the game for Brees.

Payton declined to name a starter for the Seahawks game and said both Bridgewater and multi-position standout Taysom Hill would play.

n Oakland Raiders left guard Richie Incognito practiced for the first time Wednesday after returning from a two-game suspension and said he’s anxious to play. He’s just as eager to leave his long history of troubles on and off the field in the past.

For Incognito, it’s another attempt at a fresh start after multiple suspensions and legal problems off the field.

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