It’s not a setback. As Doug Pederson explains, it’s the opposite.
It’s been a mysterious week for rehabbing Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who participated in full-team practices three consecutive days last week — Thursday, Friday and Saturday — but has sat out all the full-team drills since — Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday was an off day.
It looked like a setback. And Pederson hadn’t spoken with the media since Sunday and Wentz hadn’t spoken since last Thursday, so it was impossible to tell exactly what was happening with Wentz.
Was he experiencing swelling?
Was the workload too much for him?
Was his hope to be ready by opening day in jeopardy?
After practice Wednesday, Wentz and Pederson both insisted there was no setback, that this is all part of the plan to get Wentz back on the field as early as possible.
“I’m very encouraged obviously where he’s at and what I saw last week is enough to ease my mind,” Pederson said. “I don’t need to see him in 11-on-11.”
Wentz, who tore two knee ligaments in December, hasn’t missed a practice since camp started last Thursday and has been participating in all drills other than 11-on-11.
But seeing him do full-team work for three straight days and then sit those same drills the next three days was definitely eye-opening.
“For sure, it’s tough,” Wentz said. “It’s been tough ever since I got hurt to watch practice and not be out there.”
Wentz hasn’t been cleared for contact, and even though the quarterback doesn’t get hit during live drills, he is potentially at risk as bodies fly around during live tackling periods.
“My understanding is that the coaches and trainers and everybody want me to stay in a controlled environment right now with everything, so that’s what we’re doing," Wentz said.
“It’s just part of the plan. Haven’t been cleared for contact and I know that’s part of the reason."
Wentz, an MVP candidate a year ago, is generally off on a side field doing conditioning work or throwing while Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles leads the first-team offense in team work.
“Obviously, as a competitor, you want to be out there,” Wentz said. “I got my feet wet and got out there and ran around and it felt great, but you’ve got to listen to what the doctors and coaches are saying and just trust the plan. …
“I want to be out there. I want to be out there today, I want to be out there Week 1, I want to be out there last year. But there’s certain limitations what you can do and I just have to trust what they say.”
Wentz said he hasn’t experienced any swelling, and he said that although some days he feels better than others, he hasn’t thought about the knee once during practice.
“I feel great, I feel great," he said. "Everyone always talks about the mental side and just getting over the mental block and those hurdles. I feel like I’ve gone through that and progressed through that. Now it’s just getting cleared and sticking with the plan.”
Pederson declined to comment when Wentz would return to full team activity.
He said all decisions on Wentz’s daily practice routine are determined by the coaches, the trainers, the doctors and Wentz himself.
“He’s progressing extremely well,” Pederson said. “I don’t want to subject him to any kind of setback or anything like that. I want to keep him progressing or moving forward. Those couple days that he had were very exciting days.”
There are now 36 days until opening day.
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“I feel good and encouraged where I’m at,” Wentz said. “I’m sticking to my goal.”