PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles running back Ryan Mathews will be held out of Monday night's game against the Green Bay Packers with an MCL sprain in his right knee, coach Doug Pederson announced Saturday, and a source tells ESPN's Ashley Fox that rookie Wendell Smallwood will start
Pederson had previously expressed optimism that Mathews would be able to suit up but he has been unable to practice all week. Pederson on Saturday described the injury Mathews suffered on a red zone run against the Seattle Seahawks as "pretty significant" and said there is a chance he could be out for longer than just this week.
"There's always that fear, especially with the knee. We just want to make sure that it's 100 percent before we put him back out on the practice field," Pederson said. "There is a concern that it could linger because now we will be coming off a Monday night game into a short week and going back on the road, so we've just got to find out next Wednesday where he's at."
The Eagles travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals in Week 13.
Running back Darren Sproles "is good to go" despite suffering a broken rib against Seattle. Pederson suggested that Sproles could receive his normal amount of playing time. Smallwood, a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, will help carry the load in Mathews' absence.
"He's responded well [this week]," Pederson said of Smallwood. "Now it's just going in and getting more work, obviously. ... Protection and all those things factor in now to Wendell. Things get amplified a little bit more. But he's handled it this week well, and really all season he has done a good job, so we expect nothing less."
Pederson has yet to commit to playing wide receiver Nelson Agholor on Monday night. Agholor was open about the "mental battle" that he is going through when it comes to football after a pair of miscues against Seattle.