Today should be a little different. The Eagles are hosting the Falcons in the NFC Divisional playoffs, but it’s not the way it was supposed to be.
This was supposed to be the year of Carson Wentz.
The Eagles franchise QB went down in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams, when Carson Wentz injured his knee after aggressively diving for a touchdown. Wentz came up limping after the play, and did not return to the 43-35 victory. Days later, it was revealed that Wentz had torn his left ACL.
Wentz had successful surgery on December 13th, officially ending his season. According to NFL reporter Ian Rapoport, Wentz had more than just the ACL repaired.
“I talked to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie earlier in the week about all things related to Carson Wentz, who did undergo surgery this week to repair his torn ACL, a partially torn IT band, and clean up some meniscus damage,” Rapoport said on the NFL Network.
The surgery was performed by Dr. James Bradley, who is a leader in the field of sports medicine. He worked on Ben Roethlisberger’s knee in 2016, and was noted for using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as early as 2009.
It was horrible timing for Wentz, who was playing the best professional football of his career. After a 7-9 finish in his rookie season, Wentz led the Eagles to an 11-2 record and the top seed in the NFC. He was also on a personal tear, throwing at least two touchdown passes in eight of his last nine games.
This November post from Bleeding Green Nation sums it up best. Not only were the Eagles the favorites to win Super Bowl 52 in November, but Carson Wentz was the favorite to win league MVP. Now, the Eagles are the first top seed ever to be a home underdog to a sixth seed. Oh, and Tom Brady will probably win MVP again.
The good news is, Wentz will return. A full ACL reconstruction is estimated to take 18 months to recover, but Wentz only suffered a partial tear. A more realistic timeframe is 9-12 months, putting him on track to return at the beginning of next season. But OTA’s come six months after injury, as Wentz will likely stay sidelined during training camp as his team prepares for 2018.
The biggest concern moving forward could be Wentz’s future mobility. Wentz is a dangerous rusher, but it was his reckless abandon as a rusher that landed him on injured reserve. Wentz rushed more this year than he did his rookie year, finishing with 64 carries for 299 yards.
Of course, the chance for re-injury looms large. Patients who tear an ACL are six times more likely to re-tear the ligament than someone who has never torn an ACL. Sam Bradford tore his ACL in Week 7 of 2013, and tore it again in preseason of 2014. There is also the chance that the other knee is injured, which has also been recognized as a common occurrence.
Wentz joined Vikings RB Dalvin Cook and QB DeShaun Watson as young stars with torn ACLs this season.