One of the worst things about Carson Wentz’s ACL injury is that it doesn’t just impact the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2017 season. The injury could also linger into the team’s 2018 campaign.
Here’s some more information on that possibility from NFL insider Chris Mortensen.
Carson Wentz will have his ACL surgery with "a couple of days," per a team source.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 11, 2017
Dr. James Andrews, noted orthopedic specialist, was not speaking specifically to Wentz but he told me a short while ago that expectation should be tempered for a player with an ACL surgery to return by start of '18 season. He says ACL repairs need 9-to-12 months.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 11, 2017
Dr. Andrews said he's encountered too many football players w/ torn ACLs who have unrealistic expectation, citing Adrian Peterson's remarkable recovery from ACL/MCL repair in Dec '12 to play by Sept '13. Dr. Andrews reminded Peterson was genetically unique. Exception to rule— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 11, 2017
Finally, Dr. Andrews said the danger of returning to football too early from ACL surgery is higher odds of tearing the graft repair; also places the healthy knee in jeopardy until rehab and healing are thoroughly accomplished.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 11, 2017
Exactly nine months from now is September 11, 2018. Note that the first Sunday of the 2018 NFL schedule will likely take place on September 9. If we’re looking at the 12 month recovery timeline for Wentz, he obviously won’t be back until next December.
In either case, it seems like Wentz is bound to miss a lot of valuable practice time this offseason. He won’t be able to work on his game or take practice reps because he’ll be busy rehabbing.
The uncertainty regarding Wentz’s status will force the Eagles to make some decisions at quarterback. The Eagles could always just keep Nick Foles for 2018, but then they won’t open up the $5.2 million in cap relief they could get by trading him. The Eagles are tight up against the cap so every penny counts. Maybe the Eagles would trade Foles and ride with Nate Sudfeld, who they seem to like, but the 2016 sixth-round pick is completely untested in real NFL game action. Acquiring a rookie passer is hardly an instant solution.
Wentz has a long and bright future ahead of him, so the Eagles can’t afford to risk further injury by rushing him back on the field. At the same time, this team has a window open for them right now, especially with Wentz still on his rookie contract. Throwing away 2018 would be no minor deal.
So, yeah, this Wentz injury really sucks.