Almost a year after Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz suffered an ACL tear that ended his 2017 season, a different, unrelated injury ended his 2018 season. Wentz suffered a stress fracture in his back and once again, his season ended in December.
Wentz had been playing through back soreness since October, but the fracture was only discovered on the week of Dec. 9.
What’s the latest on Wentz’s back injury?
Wentz was on the Weeks 7 and 8 injury reports with a back issue, but the diagnosis of the stress fracture came on Dec. 11, according to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson — after Wentz had already gone through a previous scan that was inconclusive.
“Here’s what I can confirm,” Pederson said that Friday before the Rams game. “That he has a stress injury, that this thing has evolved over time, and it requires zero surgery to heal.”
Wentz did not play in the Week 15 game against the Los Angeles Rams. Although Pederson would not rule out Wentz on Friday of that week, the Eagles changed the injury report on Saturday to list him as “out.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Wentz’s injury should heal with rest:
A recent CT scan on Carson Wentz’s back revealed a fractured vertebrae that, if allowed time to rest, would fully heal without further expected issues, sources tell ESPN. There will be a continued evaluation to determine if continuing to play this year will make injury worse.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 13, 2018
Pederson said that the injury could take up to three months to heal.
“And the fact that he doesn’t need surgery on this is the best news you could possibly have,” Pederson said.
The Eagles’ medical staff faced questions about how they handled Wentz’s back, as well as other players’ injuries.
This is not the first time Wentz has deal with back pain. He had a similar injury in college, which NBC’s Michele TaFoya relayed on Sunday Night Football:
“He confirmed that his stress fracture is related to previous lower back problems, though he wouldn’t address a report that he had seen a back specialist here in Los Angeles. I asked him about the three-month timetable placed on his recovery by Doug Pederson, and Wentz would not commit to that other than to say he would not need surgery. Most interestingly, when I asked him what the plan was going forward he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Wentz missed the final three weeks of the regular season and the Eagles’ two playoff games. He did not practice during that time.
Nick Foles started every game in his place. The Eagles won four in a row, including a 16-15 Wild Card win over the Chicago Bears. The streak, and their season, ended with a 20-14 loss to the Saints in the Divisional Round.
What’s next for Wentz and Foles?
Wentz missed the first two games of the regular season while he was still recovering from his ACL tear. He does not expect the same to happen in 2019.
After the Eagles’ loss to the Saints, Wentz said that his back injury should be fine with some extra rest.
Carson Wentz on what docs have told him about his back: “Once we get it under wraps, it shouldn’t ever come back.”— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 14, 2019
At his end-of-the-season presser, Pederson made it crystal clear that Wentz was their quarterback going forward.
“We have a lot of confidence in Carson and his ability to be our quarterback and to be hopefully a 19-game starter when we look at the season what we’re trying to do,” GM Howie Roseman added.
Foles’ future with the team is less certain. While the Eagles would love to have him back, his current deal would cost them $20 million. He could hit free agency, or the Eagles could try to franchise tag him, or possibly even trade him.