The warning signs on Carson Wentz’s back came earlier this season, when he popped up a couple of times on the Eagles’ injury report. On those reports Wentz was listed as a limited participant in practice and the reason given was “back.”
Now, it looks like the back is more serious than those reports indicated and not something he is able to shake off.
Head coach Doug Pederson said on Wednesday that his quarterback will be day-to-day this week with backs spasms. He did not practice on Wednesday and a report by The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that Wentz won’t play Sunday night when the Eagles travel to Los Angeles to meet the Rams. Rapoport added that Wentz could even possibly be done for the remainder of the season.
“Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight,” said Pederson. “Just going to rest him today and evaluate him further. Nothing game-related. He's dealt with it, and so we're going to continue to evaluate.”
There certainly seemed to be something off on Wentz’s game last Sunday in the overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, that the slow starts for most of the year, and especially lately, have to do with Wentz’s back and needing some game-condition time to loosen up.
Pederson didn’t believe that was the case, saying, “He's going into the game, he's got a lot of energy, a lot of juice, and sometimes it just doesn't happen.”
The coach added: “We've monitored him since he tore his knee; since he damaged his knee. We've been on him and monitoring him. Listen, every player is going to play with a little nagging injury from time to time. That's just the way it works in this business. The quarterback is no exception, obviously. So, we've monitored it and stayed on top of it and have had great communication with him.”
This latest setback for Wentz is probably a good indicator that this is why the Eagles chose not to trade Nick Foles in the offseason after Foles guided the Birds to their first Super Bowl title, and that is because of Wentz’s injury history.
Yes, it is a history now.
He injured his wrist during his final season at North Dakota State. In his first training camp, he broke some ribs in a preseason game, though he did return and play all 16 games, becoming the first Eagles quarterback to do that since Donovan McNabb in 2008. But then came last year, when Wentz tore two ligaments in his left knee during what was shaping up to be an MVP season.
The injury, oddly enough, came against the Rams in L.A. in the 13th game of the season. Unable to return until Week Three from that injury, it looks like Wentz could be lost again with a back issue.
And what about that back issue?
How serious could it potentially be? Backs are a very finicky thing when it comes to healing, depending on how much damage there is to it.
As equally important of a question is how will this impact the contract negotiations between the organization and the player they traded up the draft board not once but twice in 2016 to select as their franchise quarterback?
Wentz is 23-17 as a starter with 70 career touchdown passes. He has thrown 54 of them in his last 24 games. He has 28 career interceptions and a completion percentage of 63.7.
And now he has an injury history.
Wentz’s rookie contract runs through 2019, but there is a fifth-year option the team can pick up for 2020.
There was a real possibility that the Eagles were going to give him a new deal in the offseason.
Now what will they do?
Will they wait to see how he performs in 2019? Will they wait to see if he can stay healthy for full year? Or will they try to get a deal done this offseason?
There are so many questions hanging out there, but the first one, and the one we will get an answer on first, is:
Will Wentz return this season or is he done?