Carson Wentz is back. Wentz received medical clearance to return to action and will start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
The anticipated news came one day after the Eagles’ 27-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although Wentz’s return is unrelated to the loss. There had been growing optimism that Wentz would be able to return for Week 3 regardless of the Week 2 outcome.
“It was strictly a medical decision,” coach Doug Pederson said. “The organization really put it with our medical team and physically, when is he going to be ready? …It just so happens it was this week. It was never the idea, the intent, that we would focus on Week 3. It could have been Week 4 or Week 5. So who knows? Well, I do know.”
Wentz injured his left knee on Dec. 10 and underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL on Dec. 13. Wentz has been rehabbing ever since and showed steady progress throughout the offseason, even participating in 11-on-11 drills on the first day of training camp. The Eagles scaled back his workload after three days, and Wentz did not return to full-team drills until the third week of the preseason. But he could not play in games until he was cleared, missing the first two weeks of the regular season.
Wentz returns two weeks after his Week 1 target. It’s still only a little more than nine months after surgery, and Pederson speculated that passing the nine-month milestone was important. Pederson joked Wentz thought he was ready one month ago. He did not consider holding Wentz back after the quarterback received medical clearance.
“He’s cleared, he goes,” Pederson said. “I’ve said all along: He’s our guy.”
Nick Foles will go back to being the No. 2 quarterback. Foles has completed 54 of 82 passes this season for 451 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The Eagles went 1-1 this season with Foles at quarterback. Of course, they went 2-1 last winter after he replaced Wentz before going 3-0 in the postseason, including Foles’ Super Bowl MVP performance.
Pederson said it still takes the offensive players around Wentz for the offense to improve and agreed with Zach Ertz that the team cannot expect Wentz to be Superman. In fact, Pederson expects an adjustment for Wentz considering Wentz has missed significant time.
“It’s going to take some time to get back into the rhythm and flow of the game,” Pederson said. “The speed of the game is different than the speed of practice.”