Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz may not return to action until October, according to a report Thursday on NFL Network. The third-year player sat out the season-opening game between his Philadelphia squad and the Atlanta Falcons as he continues to rehabilitate from December knee surgery.
Wentz, whose stellar play put him in the NFL MVP discussion before he tore two knee ligaments in a 2017 Week 14 game, has been ramping up his participation in the Eagles’ practice sessions and reportedly has looked close to his old self. However, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that his “understanding” was that the former No. 2 overall draft pick would not play again “for several weeks.”
Rapoport said that the Eagles’ reasons for keeping Wentz on the bench go beyond the fact that they also have Nick Foles, who won Super Bowl MVP honors in February. Foles took over at quarterback late last season and, after initially looking tentative, played well in the postseason and helped Philadelphia win its first championship in the Super Bowl era.
According to Rapoport, the Eagles “are being overly cautious with the face of their franchise,” Wentz, because “they know this is a decision that will not just affect the next couple of weeks, but the next 10 or 15 years.” He added, “They are not going to put him out there until he is 100 percent healthy.”
Wentz’s recovery has been slowed, Rapoport claimed, because the quarterback tore a lateral collateral ligament, as well as an anterior cruciate ligament, the latter of which is a somewhat more common injury among football players. The LCL tear reportedly required Wentz to keep a brace on his leg longer than if he had only torn his ACL.
“That is why, at this point, Wentz has still not been cleared for contact,” Rapoport said. “And that is why you’re likely to see Nick Foles until maybe even October.”
If that turns out to be the case, Foles will have been the Eagles’ starting quarterback for at least their first four games, including matchups with the Buccaneers, Colts and Titans. The fact that Philadelphia won’t have played any division games by that point, with just one conference game that could impact possible playoff seeding tiebreakers, may factor into a cautious approach with Wentz.
Even with Foles’s strong play in last season’s NFC championship game and the Super Bowl, he does not possess the upside of Wentz. In addition, Foles looked unimpressive in preseason games, albeit while often playing without all of Philadelphia’s first-stringers.
“We’ve had a lot of success with Nick,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said Monday (via the AP). “We’ve got a lot of confidence and faith in Nick, and the way that he’s going to play and the way that guys are going to play with him.”
Philadelphia Coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday that Wentz was “close” to returning, but he added (via UPI), “I’m no doctor, no expert. Still leaving it up to the medical team. He’s had some great workouts here in the last few days. We’ll see.”
Pederson went on to cite the expected “longevity” of Wentz’s career, and said of himself and the quarterback, “Hopefully we’re in this thing for the long run.”
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