When the Indianapolis Colts traded for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz this off-season, it was widely regarded as a sensible move for a team many feel will be in with a very real chance of at least the playoffs this season.
However, there was one caveat and that was Wentz remaining injury free.
And for Colts fans, therein lies the problem with the news this week that Wentz will be missing from the team from anywhere from 5-12 weeks after having surgery on a foot injury.
The timescale means he could be back for the Colts first or second game of the NFL Season, or he may not be back until midway through the season.
The injury occurred in Thursday’s practice and to compound matters, there wasn’t even an impact on Wentz that caused it.
The quarterback took a snap and he rolled out and planted his foot to throw the ball and as he did so, he felt a twinge in his foot.
It appears that a small bone in his fifth metatarsal had come loose again, possibly from an old injury from his high school days.
After a discussion with several medical experts, Colts staff and Wentz himself, it was agreed unanimously that surgery to remove the bone fragment to stop the injury recurring was the best way forward.
Wentz underwent that surgery on Monday and now faces two weeks of rest, before starting the rehabilitation period.
Colts head coach Frank Reich explained the wide time scale for Wentz’s return by explaining that different players recover at very different rates from a similar injury.
“Knowing Carson, I’m optimistic,” said Reich.
“Knowing this is the type of injury you don’t have to be pain-free to play in. You have to have an acceptable level of tolerating pain and then you can start playing. That could happen early.”
Having sent a third round pick in the 2021 draft and a conditional third round, that could become a second round pick in the 2022 draft to Philadelphia to acquire Wentz, the Colts should really have been aware of the need for an experienced backup.
In five seasons in the NFL, Wentz has completed just two full seasons. Last season, he was benched in favour of Jalen Hurts after being sacked 50 times and being intercepted 15 times across a dozen games.
Given his injury record and last seasons woeful form, the Colts should have ensured that they had experienced backup for Wentz in case of just such a situation that has arisen.
At the moment, the Colts have a very inexperienced selection of quarterbacks vying to be Wentz back up currently on the roster including Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger, Jalen Morton and Brett Hundley.
Only Hundley has played in the NFL thus far, although it is Eason that has been stepping in for Wentz in Colts practices this week.
“The job is Jacob’s right now,” confirmed Reich.
“He has to prove it, he knows that. Jacob’s in the driving seat.”
Could Nick Foles Step In For The Colts?
Despite Reich’s assertions about Eason, there has been a lot of speculation about whether Reich will consider a trade offer for the Chicago Bears third-choice quarterback Nick Foles.
Reich was the offensive co-ordinator with the Eagles in 2017, when Foles replaced the injured Wentz and led the Eagles to victory in that season’s Super Bowl.
With Foles surplus to requirements in Chicago, a deal for him has been mooted in the press, with Foles doing nothing to dampen the speculation on Monday.
The Bears third-string quarterback commented:
“Listen, Frank Reich is one of my favorite, if not favorite coaches of all time. He understands me as a player, he understands me as a person.”
Foles though did dampen the speculation a little by stating, “I haven’t had any talks with him.”
Given the Colts tough start to the season when they face five teams all with playoff potential (Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens), it is going to be interesting to see who is under center in that first game of the regular season for the Colts.
Now, that looks likely to be Jacob Eason’s job. But things can change quickly in the NFL.