Eagles Are Sticking with their Carson Wentz Plan
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If you didn't know Carson Wentz was coming off a serious knee injury, you might think the third-year quarterback was at full strength firing the first four days of Eagles training camp.
“I think if you didn’t know he had the injury or had the brace on his leg, you’d probably assess that everything was good,” Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson surmised.
But Wentz is going through a strenuous rehab after tearing the ACL and the LCL in his left knee back on Dec. 10 of last year, an injury that typically takes nine months to recover from.
If you do the math, Wentz underwent surgery on Dec. 13 and nine months from that is Sept. 13, exactly one week after the season-opener between Philadelphia and Atlanta.
During Sunday's practice, Wentz was back to individual work and some 7-on-7 reps, while sitting out team drills, a day after wowing observers with his agility during 11-on-11 work.
But, have no fear there was no setback after the ramped up work, it's just part of the Eagles' plan to have Wentz back on the field against the Falcons, and one Pederson is keeping close to his vest.
"It's just the plan that we have," the coach explained. "I'm not going to divulge the plan, but there is a plan. There is a progression. There are steps that we're going to take with him, and this is all part of that progression."
In follow-up questions, Pederson did let on a little, however. For instance, we now know the Eagles have their star QB on a pitch count and that the workload is set up in week-long increments. Meanwhile, GPS trackers in his shoulder pads are used to gauge against where Wentz was when completely healthy last season.
"It's not a daily thing, it's a weekly thing, as we progress," Pederson said. "So we've just got to make sure we've got a certain pitch count we want to keep him to each and every day. And then we're going to -- as camp goes on and rolls on, we'll ramp that up. It's also based on, too, he's getting a lot of extra work with his rehab on the side too, when he's between meetings and things like that. All of that is part of his progression. So that's why we've got to be careful that we're not pushing too early for his health."
Wentz hasn't even passed the eight-month mark from his surgery so from a medical perspective, the healing process needs a few more weeks at least no matter how good Wentz may feel.
"If just the ACL is damaged, recovery for an elite athlete who can focus on recovering (rather than having to go to work and rehab in the evenings) can be as short as six months," Dr. Andreas Gomoll, a sports medicine surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Cornell Medical School, told 973espn.com back in February. "If other ligaments are damaged enough to require repair, such as the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), then recovery will be longer - closer to nine-12 months."
In Wentz's case, the LCL in addition to the ACL complicated things but the GPS trackers can help the Eagles by comparing the post-injury Wentz to the pre-injury one.
"We can go back and look at his numbers from last year when he was healthy and say, ‘This is what we've got to get to.’ Those are all things -- that's why that plan is in place," Pederson said. "We've got to get back to there. It's a good plan, and we're going to stick with it."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen