Carson Wentz Has Decent Chance to be Ready by Training Camp | Eagles Addict
Carson Wentz injury

AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo

The worst thing that could happen to the Eagles this year has happened:  Carson Wentz tore his ACL.

The big win on Sunday that clinched the NFC East felt more like a big loss.  I couldn’t even enjoy it because I was sick to my stomach thinking about the potential loss of our star QB.

Since then, I’ve been somewhat numb thinking about “what could have been” this year.  I’m all in on Nick Foles and will hope for the best, but losing a rising star QB having an NFL MVP-type of season is a devastating blow to Super Bowl hopes.

For this article though, I’m not going to get into the Eagles’ chances with Foles.  I wanted to bring some “hope” in a different way…

Now that Wentz is headed for surgery to repair his ACL, the concern has shifted towards whether or not he will be ready by Week 1 of next season.  That could mean Wentz would basically miss all of next year’s mini-camps, training camp and preseason along with however many games in the beginning of the year.

Chris Mortensen reported that Dr. James Andrews, perhaps the most noted orthopedic surgeon for NFL players, says that “expectation should be tempered for a player with an ACL surgery <now> to return by the start of the ’18 season.” And that “ACL repairs need 9-12 months.”

In other words, it’s possible that this injury has occurred at one of the worst times it possibly could have.  Not only might it derail a golden opportunity this season, it may contribute to a rough start for the team next year.  And if Wentz were to miss training camp and preseason, how rusty would he be upon his return?

So, with this in mind, I started searching for other QBs with the same injury to see how long it took them to return.  I figured QBs might have a little better than average chance to return sooner since the position is not as physically demanding as other positions when it comes to putting stress on the given injury.

What I found was encouraging.

The first case is Phillip Rivers back in 2008 when he tore his ACL during the playoffs and had surgery in January…hat-tip to David Chao (@ProFootballDoc).

Rivers returned to practice in May, just 100 days after his surgery (see story here).  He participated in training camp, preseason and was rolling by Week 1.  His recovery was absolutely amazing and certainly can’t be looked at as the norm.  However, it’s worth noting that someone, a QB, has had a very quick turnaround after this injury.

Joe Flacco tore his ACL and MCL back on 11/22/15 and was back by training camp the following year and started Week 1 of 2016.

Carson Palmer tore his ACL for the 2nd time back on 11/9/14 and was ready to go by training camp the following year.

Donovan McNabb tore his ACL on 11/19/06, participated in the following training camp and started Week 1 in 2007.

With Rivers being the exception, the other three QBs listed above were all November injuries…so they had somewhere in the neighborhood of four weeks more of rehab than Wentz will have if we are targeting training camp in 2018 as his return.

In any case, citing the above examples it’s very possible that the 9-12 month time frame provided by Dr. Andrews is either more of an average across all players (or athletes in general) and/or it’s a case of “under promise, over deliver.”  If all goes well and there are no issues with his recovery, Wentz could be looking more at a 7-9 month time frame.

If we go in the middle of that, 8 months, that would put him back on the field in August.  Training camp generally starts in late July so it’s quite possible Wentz will be ready to go at the start.

Furthermore, all of the above QBs returned to play a full, productive season the following year.  We may not see Wentz take off and run as much next year, but he should ultimately get back to being the player we’ve seen keep plays alive with very good pocket mobility.

There have been many players in the NFL to return after a torn ACL and have excellent seasons the following year.  So, “rust” or any type of degradation in Wentz’ play shouldn’t really be a concern.

Let’s just hope Wentz’ healing skills are just as good as his QB skills.

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