PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles already know whether or not the rehabbing Carson Wentz will be on the field Thursday night when Philadelphia begins defense of its Super Bowl LII championship.

If it were up to the surgeon who repaired Wentz's ACL and LCL on Dec. 13 of last year, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will be under center against the Atlanta Falcons.

“It should be a cautious approach," Dr. James Bradley told NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark in a phone interview on Friday. "What’s a few games over 12 to 15 years?”

Bradley emphasized that Wentz's injury was far more than a torn ACL and claimed that the quarterback needs to be “tournament-tested tough” before returning.

“[The] ligaments, tendons and muscles need to learn to work again like a symphony,” Bradley asserted.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson originally said the team would make an internal decision by Friday on Wentz's status for the Falcons although hedged on that a bit after Thursday's preseason finale against the New York Jets.

Wentz has been ramping up activity since returning to full-team work over the past two weeks at practice, splitting first-team reps with Foles.

Bradley acknowledged Wentz is "ahead” of where he should be at this stage and has pushed the “pedal to the metal” in rehab with Eagles trainer Joe O’Pella having to hold him back on occasion.

It's extremely unlikely that Bradley would have spoken on the record without getting the go ahead so this could be an effort to control the narrative in advance of moving forward with Foles early in the season.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen