Kessler Steps In as ‘Fixed’ Sudfeld Heals
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Less than 48 hours after suffering a broken left wrist in the preseason opener against Tennessee, Nate Sudfeld declared himself fixed.
Now it's about healing, something the presumptive backup to Carson Wentz hopes happens in about six weeks.
“Obviously, I'm trying to get back as soon as I can,” Sudfeld said after practice on Saturday. “But [I've] never broken a bone before, so just trying to listen to the doctors and everything and hopefully be back really soon.”
Sudfeld knew pretty quickly something was wrong after the Titans' Isaiah Mack shoved him to the turf in what turned out to be a 27-10 setback. There was the numb hand and then his wristband, which looked crooked.
"It felt a little weird,” he said. “My hand was a little numb, I was moving my fingers and the break was like right under my wristband. Eventually, I stood there a second and my wrist band was kind of crooked so I was like, uh, that’s probably not good.”
There was a silver lining, though. The injury was on his non-throwing hand and surgery was able to be performed very quickly on Friday morning. Everything was "pretty straightforward," an NFL source told 973espn.com which put the optimistic timetable at six weeks. A more cautious one could be two months but either way, Sudfeld is likely to be available to Doug Pederson at some point in the first quarter of the season.
“You guys know I don't put timetables on [injuries],” Pederson said. “Like I said after the game, it's not season-ending. We will get him back soon, so that's what we're excited about.”
Sudfeld himself was in good spirits Saturday walking out to the practice field with his left arm in a black sling and serving as an extra set of eyes for the healthy quarterbacks at the two-hour padded session: Carson Wentz, Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson.
“I'm really excited that it's not a long-term injury,” Sudfeld said, noting he's now got some hardware in his body, notably a plate and a few screws. “[I'm] very fortunate. ... If I could pick an injury, it would be my left wrist or something like that."
That doesn't mean that there isn't disappointment, though.
Sudfeld is attempting to take a significant step forward in his career as the full-time backup and needed significant summer reps to aid in that development. The early signs before the injury were positive, however, including the 75-yard touchdown to Marken Michel, the play of the night from Philadelphia's standpoint.
"Would you like more time? Yeah, you'd like to get another game or two to see him in a little more action," Pederson admitted when asked about Sudfeld's development by 973espn.com. "But what he's proven to us in practice the last couple of years, what he's done out here, what he did in the game the other night, again he was smart with the football, made great decisions, threw the ball with accuracy. Those are all things you look for in the backup. He did a nice job in kind of solidifying that spot.”
A spot that will be transferred to Kessler, at least for the time being.
"Nate was out there and he was awesome helping me out and kind of talked me through a lot of things,” Kessler mentioned after a practice in which his reps were up significantly. “It was good, got a lot of reps, had a good two-minute drive there, got to push the ball down the field here and there and had some good plays down the field and felt a lot more comfortable running the offense, getting in a rhythm."
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson, a former teammate of Kessler's in Jacksonville, believes the Eagles will be in capable hands if forced to play the fourth-year pro.
"He's a very consistent guy, you know comes in learns the plays makes all the right decisions," Jackson assessed. "...When he was in Jacksonville he came in for us when they benched [Blake] Bortles and I think he won a game or two and, you know, did a good job. So I'm glad he's here."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen