Health and wellness are more critical to some Eagles right now than others.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and defensive end Brandon Graham, both still recovering from offseason surgery, did not take a single snap in training camp and might not play at all in the preseason, but have a pipe, slippers and roster spot waiting for them whenever they get the green light to play again.

Others, such as second-year running back Donnel Pumphrey and 2017 practice-squad cornerback De'Vante Bausby, can't afford any prolonged absences from the playing field if they hope to earn a season-opening job with the defending Super Bowl champions.

There is an age-old saying in sports that you can't make the club in the tub. It applies to "bubble'' players such as Pumphrey and Bausby, who need to be in uniform every day, impressing the coaches and outplaying their competition.

Bausby has done that. He has managed to answer the practice bell every day this summer, has played well, and heads into Thursday night's preseason game against the New England Patriots very much in the thick of the hunt for a roster job.

Then there's Pumphrey. The 2017 fourth-round pick had an impressive offseason after spending his rookie year on injured reserve.

He worked hard, added muscle to his 5-foot-9, 176-pound frame and looked very Darren Sproles-like in the first week-and-a-half of training camp.

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The Eagles' fourth running-back job, behind Jay Ajayi, Sproles and Corey Clement, seemed well within his reach. Then, for the second summer in a row, he injured his hamstring and things went to hell.

Eagles running back Donnel Pumphrey carrying the ball during organized team activities in May.
Tim Tai / Staff Photographer
Eagles running back Donnel Pumphrey carrying the ball during organized team activities in May.

He didn't play in the Eagles' first preseason game against the Steelers and isn't expected to play Thursday against the Patriots, and has lost valuable ground to Wendell Smallwood, Matt Jones and undrafted rookie Josh Adams. Adams also missed practice time this week, but he had an impressive performance against the Steelers that's already in the bank.

"It's tough,'' coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday when asked about the impact Pumphrey's absence is having on his roster chances. "It's tough from the standpoint obviously you're not getting the practice reps you need, and obviously the game reps. [It's hurting him as far as] being exposed to not only our roster, but the 31 other teams who are watching our games.

"Each day is a little bit of a missed opportunity. He's got to get himself healthy and try to get himself back here as soon as he can.''

Said offensive coordinator Mike Groh: "It's unfortunate. It's out of our control, out of his control. He was doing everything he could [to make the team] and then this happens. I know he's working hard in the training room to get back.''

Despite his munchkin-like size, Pumphrey was amazingly indestructible during his college career at San Diego State, where he shattered the FBS career rushing record.

He started 44 straight games for the Aztecs, had 1,059 carries over four years, and averaged 329 rushing attempts in his last two years.

Then he tweaked his hamstring last summer in the first week of camp with the Eagles. He played with it, but the quickness that persuaded the Eagles to draft him was conspicuously missing. He ended up spending his rookie season on injured reserve.

This time around, IR probably isn't an option. The same with the practice squad. He needs to get healthy and make a roster case for himself quickly.

Bausby, meanwhile, has managed to avoid the training room and has put himself in position to win a job on a team that has its deepest group of cornerbacks in several years.

De’Vante Bausby, left, with Malcolm Jenkins after completing a practice earlier this month.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
De’Vante Bausby, left, with Malcolm Jenkins after completing a practice earlier this month.

The 6-2, 190-pounder impressed defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz with his play on the scout team last season. During spring OTAs, Schwartz gave him extensive reps at nickel, even though he hadn't played inside since college.

During camp, and last week against the Steelers, Bausby played both inside and outside and did well.

"He's done a good job,'' defensive backs coach Cory Undlin said. "He got something like 46 plays against Pittsburgh. I love the way he attacked the run [as the nickel back]. He had a couple of misses in there, but we'll clean that up.

"He wasn't perfect. He still has a ways to go. But I like him. He did a good job.''

Bausby is going on 26. He has played in just four NFL games since being signed as an undrafted free agent by Kansas City in 2015.

"Ever since I've been in the league, I've been in this position,'' Bausby said of life on the bubble. "It's uncomfortable. But I'm comfortable being uncomfortable. I keep my head down and keep grinding and control what I can control.''

Staying healthy isn't something Bausby or Pumphrey can control. Bausby has been lucky. Pumphrey hasn't. Bausby is making the most of his luck right now. Pumphrey's immediate future is at the mercy of a leg muscle.

Bausby's ability to prove to the Eagles that he can play inside has dramatically helped his chances of making the season-opening roster.

"If you can play inside and outside, it makes you more valuable,'' he said. "I can play big [outside], and when I get inside with those quick, twitchy guys, I can play small.''

That gives him a slight advantage over 5-9 rookie Avonte Maddox, a fourth-round pick who really isn't big enough to play against taller wideouts on the outside, and 6-2, 209-pound second-year man Rasul Douglas, whom Schwartz views as strictly an outside corner.

"I'm just trying to get 1 percent better every day,'' Bausby said. "I know there are things I didn't do right in last week's game that I'm going to improve on this week.

"I'm not satisfied, but I'm making big strides. As long as I'm getting 1 percent better every day, if I'm going hard, it will be good in the long run, wherever I'm at.''