Colts QB Wentz out after injuring foot, all options on table, including surgery

Indianapolis Colts

Carson Wentz at Colts training camp on July 28, 2021

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Carson Wentz’s first training camp with the Indianapolis Colts lasted one day without incident.

The second day? A foot injury suffered during Thursday’s work at Grand Park Sports Campus that has team doctors trying to determine its severity and how long it might keep him off the practice field. ESPN reported Wentz is out “indefinitely.’’

The third day? Jacob Eason running the No. 1 offense.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, noted foot specialist Robert Anderson will evaluate the MRI scans taken on Wentz’s foot. NFL Network was the first to report the consultation with Dr. Anderson.

All options remain on the table until the evaluations are complete, including surgery to address the injury. If there’s a silver lining to the injury occurring at this point of camp it’s the Colts still are six weeks away from the Sept. 12 opener against Seattle. The team doesn’t consider Wentz’s injury season-ending at all.

However, this is not an ideal start for a team with high expectations and so many prevailing questions, including at starting quarterback.

Oh, and Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly is expected to miss a couple of weeks after hyperextending his left elbow Thursday.

Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady revealed after Friday morning’s practice that Wentz felt a “twinge’’ in his foot during an 11-on-11 period. Wentz was held out of the final 11-on-11 drills Thursday.

“He got hurt . . . when he was rolling out, planted to go throw and he just felt a twinge in his foot,’’ he said. “It was not stepped on. It was just while he was running.

“He’s been with the docs. They’re trying to figure out what the (injury) is. They’re still evaluating what the next move is and how bad it is and then we’ll go from there.’’

Brady was unable to offer a timeline for Wentz’s return.

“No, not yet,’’ he said. “We should know something shortly. We’re just waiting.’’

While Wentz is out, Eason takes control of the offense. The 2020 fourth-round pick didn’t step on the field as a rookie. 

Aside from Wentz, the quarterback depth chart consists of three with zero game experience: Eason, sixth-round draft pick Sam Ehlinger and Jalen Morton.

With the uncertainty regarding Wentz, it’s possible general manager Chris Ballard will consider signing a veteran. That might not be the case if we’re talking about a week, even two. But if the foot issue threatens Wentz’s availability for the Sept. 12 opener against Seattle – and beyond – adding a veteran seems prudent.

Instability at the position was going to follow the Colts into the season regardless. They will have a different starting quarterback in a fifth straight season opener.

The team attached its future to Wentz after Philip Rivers decided to retire in January. Ballard acquired Wentz in a trade with Philadelphia that cost him a third-round pick in the April draft and a 2022 conditional pick that becomes a first-rounder if Wentz is on the field 75% of the snaps or 70% is the Colts make the playoffs.

Wentz’s injury history contributed to the play-time trigger on the 2022 conditional pick. He has appeared in all 16 games just twice in five seasons: as a rookie in 2016 and in 2019. In Philly, he dealt with a season-ending ACL in 2017, knee and back issues in ’18 and a concussion in the ’19 playoffs.

By all accounts, Wentz was settling in nicely with his new team and surroundings.

And now a foot injury in his second practice.

Consider the makeup of a portion of the starting offense Friday: quarterback Jacob Eason (Wentz with the foot), left tackle Sam Tevi (Eric Fisher rehabbing an Achilles injury), left guard Quenton Nelson (a rest day), center Danny Pinter (Kelly with the elbow), right guard Mark Glowinski and right tackle Braden Smith. Wideout T.Y. Hilton also was given a rest day.

That forced much of the attention on Eason. After a solid day Thursday, Eason seemed to take a step back. He completed 8-of-10 passes in team drills, but most were check-down throws to tight ends and running backs. His strong arm was evident, but there were high, hard misfires as well in 7-on-7 work.

His efficiency also was impacted as the defensive front appeared to get the better of the offensive line. Rookie Kwity Paye and Ben Banogu spent a lot of time in the backfield.

“Obviously the defense is going to say they got quite a few sacks,’’ Brady said with a smile, “but overall, I thought (Eason) handled it well. I thought he did a good job moving in the pocket.’’

One of the prime objectives heading into training camp was to get Eason as much work as possible. He saw few meaningful practice reps as a rookie while working behind Rivers and Jacoby Brissett. The cancellation of the four preseason games was incredibly detrimental to Eason’s development.

“He definitely needs it,’’ Brady said. “The biggest thing is we just want to continue getting him reps. There’s plays that he just hasn’t seen. It’s his first time actually getting live reps. He’s going to learn from it. He’s going to make mistakes.

“He made some good plays; made some bad plays and we’ve just got to continue to grow and make sure he’s improving and learning from those mistakes.’’

Brady believes extended work on the practice field will translate into a more confident Eason.

“Now he’s going to be able to envision these plays in his head,’’ he said. “It’s going to make him think much quicker, it’s going to accelerate his vision. It’s good that he’s going to continue to accumulate all these reps.’’

Listen to the Colts Blue Zone Podcast for weekly coverage and analysis of the Indianapolis Colts.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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