The Eagles defense fought hard Sunday against Dallas, keeping the team in the game despite a futile effort offensively.

There were casualties in the battle (aside from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo -- who will miss at least eight weeks) as the Eagles practiced without Cedric Thornton, Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks Tuesday.

Alonso has a partial tear of his ACL, according to a league source. 

"Kiko is still in the evaluation process," defensive coordinator Billy Davis said. "We’re crossing our fingers and hoping everything turns out the best. We’re unsure about him, but this week I don’t expect him to play."

Kendricks has a hamstring injury and according to sources has an "outside shot" to play against the Jets Sunday. So who does that leave to play inside linebacker?

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DeMeco Ryans will be active, and he is healthy after missing half of last season with an ACL tear. Alongside him? Rookie Jordan Hicks -- a talented player who has been under the radar but won't be for long.

"I think the encouraging thing is that Jordan Hicks came in played really well," Malcolm Jenkins said of the third round pick from Texas. "He got thrown into the fire this weekend, in a tight defensive game with everything on the line and all of a sudden he's out there in a position to make calls, get lined up and make plays. And he did well. As a rookie, that's huge. We feel comfortable with him out there."

Being "thrown into the fire" is nothing new for Hicks, who went through a similar situation back in Austin.

"My freshman year in college the exact same thing happened," Hicks said. "Huge game, going into it I wasn't sure if I was going to play, I was on special teams, and next thing you know you're in."

Interestingly, Hicks played alongside former Eagle Emmanuel Acho in the game against Nebraska. 

The Eagles added some depth by re-signinginside linebacker Najee Goode (cut by the team in training camp) but most of the snaps will likely go to Ryans and Hicks. And as he showed in a relief role Sunday, Hicks thinks he's ready for the start.

"I'm realistic," Hicks said, also admitting he knows his own limitations. "I know I am going and have a lot to learn, it takes a lot of film and studying, talking to DeMeco and guys like Kiko and Mychal."