By Peter Gleason
Carson Wentz met the media yesterday for the first time since Dec. 10, and he had jarring news:
Wentz confirmed that he tore his ACL and LCL in the Rams game in December — the first time Wentz or the Eagles mentioned the LCL being torn.
It’s not known if that will make it a longer recovery process.
Wentz said “I’m aiming” to return in time for Week 1 of the 2018 season in September, and that he “truly believes” he’ll be ready by then. But he couldn’t say for sure.
“Honestly, we’ll see what happens,” Wentz said when asked about returning in time for training camp in late July. “We’ll see what happens. My goal is to be out there Week 1. The timetable stuff, I wish I knew, just as much as you guys. It’s such a fluid process. We’ll just see what happens.”
Then he added: “I 100 percent believe I’ll be back better than ever, stronger than ever, with no looking back.”
He was seen at practice yesterday, but without a cane, which he had during the Eagles’ 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game last Sunday.
Before that, Wentz was on crutches.
Nick Foles took over at quarterback for the Eagles in the fourth quarter against the Rams, and has started the last five games. That included both of the Eagles’ playoff victories – 15-10 over the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round on Jan. 13, followed by the win over the Vikings.
But Foles struggled over the final two regular season games. Wentz said he wasn’t worried. After all, Foles missed most of the preseason with an elbow injury, and he rarely got any reps in practice once the season started. Those go to the starting quarterback.
“He’s playing confidently,” Wentz said. “Getting reps, I think, has been big. Just getting those extra reps through playoff practices and everything. It’s not easy to just step in there, having no reps throughout the season, missing training camp and everything, the preseason.
“This game is such a timing thing. It’s getting those extra reps. You can see the confidence that he has. He’s always been a playmaker. He’s always able to make plays and throw the ball deep. It’s really cool to see him coming into his own the last couple weeks. He’s playing unbelievable.”
The injury apparently happened late in the third quarter when Wentz dove for the end zone from two yards out. Two Rams defenders converged on him as he dove, banging into his legs.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said in the days after the injury that it might have occurred when Wentz planted his knee before diving for the end zone. But that hasn’t been confirmed.
“As far as playing aggressive and being the player that I am, I won’t change,” he said.
Wentz stayed in the game for three more plays. In fact, his last pass of the season, a 2-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, set the Eagles’ record for touchdown passes for a season. That gave Wentz 33, breaking the record set by Sonny Jurgensen in 1961.
Wentz said dealing with the injury was difficult at first, just knowing that his season was over.
“I had to fight those feelings of self-pity for that day,” Wentz said. “I got through that pretty quick. This team, my teammates, friends, and family, the fans, my faith in the Lord has gotten me through and it’s been great.”
“Guys had a feeling what it was, and I thought Malcolm addressed it great,” Wentz said. “And it’s been the next man up. That’s the mentality we had all year long. No one flinched, no one blinked. I think it proves my point right now of where we’re at and how we’re still winning ball games.”