The Eagles playoff hopes unofficially ended this past Sunday with a loss to Dallas and now we’ve learned that Carson Wentz’s season may be unofficially over as well.
How Long Has Carson Dealt With the Back Issue?
Carson Wentz first appeared on the Eagles injury report during Week 6. At that time though, it was listed as rest and not injury related. He was a limited participant that Tuesday before going fully that Wednesday. The following week, he was listed on the report as having a back issue. He was limited in one practice before being a full participant the rest of the week. In Week 8, Wentz followed the same schedule he did in Week 7: listed with a back injury, one limited practice, and then being a full participant the rest of the week. The following week was the Eagles’ bye and was the last time his back issues were listed. That is, until the news broke that he had suffered a fractured vertebrae.
The above tweet is alarming on various levels. According to Doug Pederson, the Eagles have done scans on Wentz throughout the season. If at any point this season a fracture materialized and the team kept it from Carson, that would create a breach in trust between the franchise and their cornerstone player. If not handled properly, that could fester and grow. The Eagles’ medical staff has been under scrutiny this season, and rightfully so. Between Jay Ajayi playing on a torn ACL and now this with Wentz, it calls into question whether something should be done with the Eagles’ medical staff. When pressed about this, Pederson deflected and defended the team. As the representative of the team, this makes sense but does not minimize the alarm at all or mitigate the questions that should be asked of the medical staff.
Where Wentz Goes From Here
It has also been reported that Wentz will seek outside medical advice on the fractured vertebrae. If there wasn’t a report of a “huge internal issue,” I would chalk this up as Carson simply doing his due diligence. Getting as many opinions as possible would be the proper path to take. While that could still be the case, it does raise questions about Wentz and the medical staffs’ relationship. Expect the Eagles medical staff to continue to be a topic of discussion.
How Has the Injury Affected Carson Wentz?
Earlier this season, I wrote about Carson’s return from injury and what he could look like once he returns. Wentz has had a brace on his leg during this season. When paired with him dealing with a back injury (for perhaps several weeks), this would explain Carson looking less mobile this season compared to last. Wentz is great, but what makes him special is his ability to use his legs, extend plays outside of the pocket, and throw on the run. This season, we’ve seen that in flashes, but not as consistently as he has in the past. Despite this, his numbers this year are nearly identical to those of last season.
As you can see, it’s not as if Carson has experienced some sort of drop-off statisically. In fact, he’s having a great year by most measurables. It is apparent when you watch him live, though, that he isn’t making the type of plays that make you say “wow” this season. The brace on his leg surely could impact his mobility and ability to do that. I’ve mentioned before, it would take several weeks for him to get back to that once he returned. That return was in Week 3, and only four weeks later, the back issue came up. It is reasonable to consider that at the point where he should’ve begun getting back to his old self athletically, the back issues started to materialize and hindered that progress even more so. In what has been a snake bit season for the Eagles injury-wise, it’s not surprising that Wentz has been dealing with ailments of his own.
What Should the Eagles Do Now?
The number one priority for the Eagles should be Carson’s health. The 2018 season is a lost cause at this juncture, and reloading for 2019 is at the top of the pecking order. That starts with Carson Wentz coming into next year’s training camp fresh and ready to roll. It’s unclear whether or not there is an internal issue between Wentz and the team. If there is, the Eagles needs to recognize that Carson’s best interest and the team’s best interest are aligned. It’s been a disappointing season for the Eagles. It’s up to them to make sure it doesn’t become a disaster.