So says ESPN:
Wentz says he expects to be ready for Week 1. That’s certainly what Eagles fans and fantasy players want to hear. But, feeling ready to play and actually playing may not happen simultaneously.
Not all ACL injuries are created equal. Factors such as whether the injury to the ACL was isolated or whether it was accompanied by additional structural damage will potentially affect the rehab parameters, as well as the overall timeline. Time of injury within the season is also a factor; sustaining an ACL injury in Week 1 allows a player several additional months of post-op recovery compared to suffering the same injury in Week 16. Other factors, such as mechanism of injury, player age (both real and football service years) and the demands of the position to which he is returning (quarterback versus defensive back versus running back) can also play a role.
So where does Wentz’s scenario fit? The mobile quarterback tore both the ACL and the LCL in his left knee in Week 14 (Dec. 10) when he was tackled while diving into the end zone. He underwent reconstructive surgery within days, a move that hinted at the serious nature of the injury.
How so? One of the concerns with an injury to the outside of the knee (where the LCL or lateral collateral ligament is located) is the risk of damage to a group of soft tissue structures that reinforce the stability of the outside back corner of the knee, also known as the posterolateral corner. Damage to this area can leave the knee dangerously unstable, potentially putting the athlete at increased risk for degenerative joint changes if left untreated or inadequately treated. Since there are several layers of delicate tissue (ligaments, tendon, joint capsule) in the area, it is imperative to address the injury fairly quickly before scar tissue sets in its place. Swiftly addressing the injury with surgery is just the beginning; the steps in the athlete’s subsequent rehab must be controlled to allow for proper healing.
By all accounts, Wentz has been diligent with his rehab, which has gone according to plan. He was doing individual drills in May OTAs and participated in 7-on-7 drills in June, contributing to Wentz’s building confidence about his readiness. But there are clues from the organization that they are in lock-step agreement about not rushing their young franchise quarterback to return — not the least of which was retaining Nick Foles.
There have been not-so-subtle statements from the Eagles’ brass as well. In March, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman would not commit to Wentz being available for the start of the season. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told Peter King of NBC Sports in mid-July that he could not honestly say whether Wentz would be ready by Week 1 of the regular season (a point that will mark roughly nine months post-surgery). Pederson made it clear who will be making the call with regards to his quarterback’s status.
“It will be a doctors’ decision. Carson will have to be 100 percent before he takes the field.”
Keep in mind that Wentz is not just a quarterback. He is a mobile, agile quarterback who will make plays with his legs. He also got hurt in traffic while attempting just such a play. How long will it take for him to be comfortable not only moving around the field but also dodging the swarming defenders who will undoubtedly be eager to test his confidence? It’s one thing to practice against your defensive teammates; it’s quite another to face real opponents who are not trying to protect your surgically repaired knee. Given the multitude of factors in play when it comes to Wentz, it would not be surprising if the decision about his Week 1 status comes down to the wire: