As Carson Wentz walked out of the tunnel at Sunday night’s open practice at the Linc, the crowd of over 17,000 gave him the biggest ovation of the night.
Then, the No. 2 overall pick joined them as a spectator.
Wentz has a cracked rib on his right side, the product of a big helmet-to-ribs hit from Bucs linebacker Micah Awe on Thursday night (see story).
There’s no official timetable for Wentz’s return, but the rookie hopes he’ll be able to play in the last preseason game – a home game against the Jets on Sept. 1.
“I really hope so,” he said. “Heck, I’d love to play tomorrow. That’s kind of how I am. We’ll have to wait and see what the doctors recommend.”
This is the first time Wentz has ever suffered a rib injury, so he wasn’t sure how to handle it, he said. He tried to practice on Saturday, but was limited. It wasn’t until after practice that X-rays and a CT scan showed the hairline fracture.
Wentz said his gradual return to practice will be determined by his pain tolerance, but he’ll need to be cleared by doctors before he can play in a game. Right now, the injury “hurts pretty good.”
“It hurts,” Wentz said. “It hurts … pretty much everything I do, but it’ll be all right.”
While Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and McLeod Bethel-Thompson took all the practice reps on Sunday night, Wentz was on the field watching in shorts. Where most injured players aren’t on the field for practice, Wentz was on Sunday.
For now while he’s on the shelf, it’s all about mental reps.
“Absolutely,” Wentz said. “That’s part of being a backup quarterback. You gotta get the mental reps whether you’re hurt or on the field. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
Wentz had an up-and-down NFL debut on Thursday night, but certainly gave Eagles fans plenty of reasons to be excited about the future. He completed just 12 of 24 passes for 89 yards and an interception, but showed off his athleticism and looked much better than backup Daniel.
Now, he just has to hope he’ll get back on the field again this preseason.
“I just have to give it time,” he said, “and we'll see what happens.”