While Carson Wentz’s back injury has taken center stage this week as he’s missed practice and his season could reportedly be over, it’s not a new problem.
And one of his best friends on the Eagles thinks it had been affecting Wentz for at least some time this season. Wearing a red, white and blue AO1 shirt on Thursday afternoon, Jordan Matthews wouldn’t speculate how long Wentz’s back injury has bothered him, but said he knew it was.
“He’s one of the toughest dudes I know, but of course it’s going to affect him,” Matthews said.
A recent CT scan revealed a fracture in Wentz’s back, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark confirmed Thursday. But Wentz’s back issue dates back to at least October.
Wentz first appeared on the injury report on Oct. 17. He was limited in practice for consecutive Wednesdays before the Panthers and Jaguars games heading into the bye week.
He has played every snap in all seven games since first appearing on the injury report. But Matthews said, as one of his best friends on the team, he knew the injury was affecting the franchise quarterback.
Of course, you gotta be somewhat affected. I think you can just look at the quarterback position, you’re going through reads. You have to be able to twist, you have to be able to turn. Carson is probably the best quarterback also throwing off the run, so that affects your running too. He’s wearing a knee brace. This guy is playing through a lot. Do I think it affected him? Of course. Do I know exactly how? I’m not going to speculate on that. What I’m definitely saying is what, he still (has) 20 touchdowns, less than 10 interceptions? That’s still high level production with an injury.
Let’s take a look at Wentz’s production this season:
Here’s a look at his first four games before appearing on the injury report: 68 percent completion percentage, 1,192 yards (292 per game), 8 touchdowns, 1 interceptions, 104.7 passer rating
And his seven games since hitting the injury report: 70 percent completion percentage, 1,882 yards (269 per game), 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 100.5 rating.
It’s a small sample size, but there was at least a very slight drop-off in his level of play, though it’s hard to see it. And it’s going to be hard to know just how exactly the injury affected Wentz until he gets to talk for himself. Zach Ertz said on Wednesday that Wentz wants to speak to reporters. But until he does, we have to take Matthews’ word for it.
Wentz was at practice on Thursday, even though he didn’t participate. He was engaging with teammates and made sure to stay with the quarterbacks during drills.
“Carson, he’s going to handle this like a champ,” Matthews said. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s the best young quarterback in the league, I think hands down. He was even playing at a high level with what he was dealing with. I don’t know if you know, going through reads, it helps to have a healthy back. He was still going out there and producing at a high level with the injury.
“I think obviously with this situation right now, sitting now, I don’t think it’s affecting his confidence at all. He knows who he is. He knows what he brings to the table and he knows what he means to this team. It just sucks that he can’t play right now, but he’s still out there communicating, we’re talking on the sideline and in between periods. He’s still the same guy, great teammate.”
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