As Carson Wentz answered questions about how his practice went Sunday, the first day he was back in full-team 11-on-11 drills since late July, he couldn’t help but channel his inner Ice Cube.
“I felt good,” Wentz said. “Knee was feeling good. It was a good day.”
A good day indeed.
As the Eagles’ franchise quarterback continues to rehab his torn ACL and LCL that he suffered back on Dec. 10, his goal has never changed. He wants to be ready to play in the Week 1 opener on Sept. 6, but it won’t ultimately be his call. He still says it’ll be “close.”
It seems like Wentz is confident he’ll be ready to go, but the doctors need to clear him for contact. That remains the final hurdle before he can play in a game.
“I feel good,” Wentz said Monday. “Like I said, I think you guys see me out there. I have really no hesitation in the pocket when guys are around me. I feel really good but it’s going to come down to if they feel confident in contact and when that is. I can’t say yet.”
Wentz said he doesn’t know when the final test to be cleared for contact will come, but he is heavily involved with the doctors and trainers as they execute his rehab plan. They obviously need to listen to his input.
After Wentz did full-team drills early in training camp, the Eagles backed off him for a few weeks. That was part of the plan but was also likely impacted by the fear of unnecessary risk in an uncontrolled environment.
That led to a frustrating few weeks.
“I want to be out there every day,” Wentz said. “I want to be a full participant in every single thing. But that wasn’t totally my call and you just have to be smart in those situations. It was tough, but yeah, getting out there in the full-team drills, I definitely enjoyed it.”
Wentz said there’s nothing, in particular, he wants to see from himself over the next few weeks. Really, he just wants to get more reps with his teammates, specifically some new faces he’s throwing to.
Doug Pederson on Sunday said Wentz and Nick Foles will split first-team reps 50-50 as the team starts to prepare both for the season opener on Sept. 6.
Eventually, even if it doesn’t happen for Week 1, Wentz will be cleared for contact and will play in an NFL game. It won’t happen this preseason, but whenever it comes, Week 1, 2, whatever, he’s going to need to trust that knee.
He doesn’t think there will be a mental hurdle to overcome.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I feel good out there. Obviously, I haven’t been hit yet, but out there in the team drills, guys flying all around, all those things, I don’t feel like I have any mental hesitation. And I’m personally not worried about it.”
Wentz has come a long way since Dec. 10 and the subsequent surgery. He called the rehab a “grueling process.”
“Just from a rehab standpoint, when you’re in the building almost every day of the week, all offseason, you really don’t get any break,” Wentz said. “And then just the physical limitations early on and overcoming that step by step, it’s been a grueling process but I’m thankful for the progress that I have made.”