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Eagles expected to start Nick Foles in opener, sources say

PHILADELPHIA -- Nick Foles is expected to be the Eagles' starter in their season opener Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons, sources who have weighed in on Philadelphia's quarterback situation told ESPN.

The decision gives Carson Wentz more time to rehab from the torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.

The Eagles have not officially named a starting quarterback for Thursday night's game. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman wouldn't confirm that Foles would start in Week 1 when asked by reporters on Saturday.

"No, I'm not going to talk about any play-time decision or any starter decisions," he said. "That's not my dojo. And I certainly don't feel like we're in a position to give any answers to any tests here about any position on our football team. I appreciate the question."

Coach Doug Pederson told reporters earlier in the week that he would likely know who was starting by Friday, but the public announcement could come as late as "90 minutes before kickoff."

The prevailing thought from those who have privately weighed in on the Eagles quarterback situation in recent days is that the team is maintaining the long view when it comes to Wentz and will let him heal a bit longer before exposing him to game action.

Wentz, the former No. 2 pick out of North Dakota State, has looked increasingly like his old self in recent weeks. His mobility is returning, and his throwing velocity is up compared to last year. He has been splitting first-team reps with Foles during practice of late.

He is still on the early side of a traditional timetable for return from this type of injury, however. ACL tears typically take nine to 12 months to recover. The Atlanta game comes a few days shy of that nine-month mark. Wentz tore his LCL as well, which delayed the rehab process and made for a more complicated surgery and recovery.

Given all those factors, bringing Wentz back before he hits that nine-month mark is viewed by some as a gamble. The belief is that if owner Jeffrey Lurie sees any unnecessary risk, they'll opt to let their star QB heal another week or two before exposing him to game action.

"It should be a cautious approach," Dr. James Bradley, who performed Wentz's knee surgery, said to NBC 10 in Philadelphia. "What's a few [missed] games over 12 to 15 years?"

As far as the eye test goes, teammates agree that Wentz is passing with flying colors. On Thursday, right tackle Lane Johnson said that he would be a bit surprised if Wentz weren't the starter against Atlanta, based on what he has seen.

"It's pretty remarkable how he's progressed," tight end Zach Ertz said recently. "You would never expect, just looking at him, that he would have had such a big surgery just eight-and-a-half months ago. He looks great. He looks like he always does. He's moving well -- surprisingly well, honestly. I don't know if anyone expected him to be this far along, but he looks really good."

Wentz has been champing at the bit to get back out on the field, as you might expect, but has reluctantly accepted that this decision is largely a medical one and is out of his hands. Given all that's on the line, the expectation is the Eagles will play it conservatively.