Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith returns to 11-on-11 drills, says knee feels 'good'

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles rookie receiver DeVonta Smith participated in team drills during a joint practice against the New England Patriots on Tuesday, a first since he sprained his left MCL on Aug. 1.

"I'm excited. I feel good," said Smith. "Just taking it day by day, step by step, just continuing to get better and get more comfortable with it."

Coach Nick Sirianni would not commit to Smith playing in Thursday's preseason game against the Patriots but hinted that he could suit up before the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 12.

"Yeah, I always think it's necessary for guys to play in the preseason and go through that," Sirianni said when asked about Smith, adding that he's "still evaluating" whether that opportunity will come Thursday.

Smith was injured on what he described as a "freak accident," as a player landed on his leg as he lunged to the ground to try to secure a pass from Jalen Hurts. He returned to practice Monday and participated in individual drills before adding 11-on-11 work on Tuesday.

Smith, the No. 10 overall pick in April's NFL draft, said he's "getting there" when asked whether he is 100% healthy. He looked close to his usual form in practice, showing off the smooth route-running that helped him win the Heisman Trophy last season.

"It felt good just to get back out there, to get back on the field doing some stuff, cutting, going against somebody," he said. "Overall, just a happy feeling."

Also Tuesday, the Eagles waived/injured running back Kerryon Johnson. He appeared on the team's practice participation report Saturday with a knee injury and was considered week-to-week. Philadelphia claimed Johnson, 24, off waivers from the Detroit Lions on May 7. Johnson, who has a history of knee injuries, was competing with players like Jordan Howard and Jason Huntley for a spot on the roster.

Players who are waived/injured revert to the team's injured reserve if unclaimed on waivers. The two sides can come to a settlement to release the player off IR.