INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts already were unsure if Carson Wentz could play this week after injuring his right ankle.
On Monday, doctors found he‘d sprained both ankles.
Coach Frank Reich said the injuries could force the winless Colts to visit defending AFC South champion Tennessee without their starting quarterback and he does not yet have a timetable for Wentz‘s return.
“When it comes to sprained ankles there are degrees,” Reich said before meeting with the doctors. “I know Carson has a high threshold of pain. My history with Carson is that he’s a pretty fast healer and he’s tough. If he can play, he’ll play.”
Apparently, Wentz played with a bad left ankle in the 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. But when his right leg got twisted in a pile midway through the fourth quarter, the former North Dakota State star struggled to reach the sideline.
There, trainers examined him, re-taping the right ankle in hopes of getting him back on the field.
It didn’t work. When Wentz realized he couldn’t function well enough on the field, he tossed his helmet in frustration — an action he later said he regretted.
“We’ll have to see as we go here,” Reich said. “Obviously, I’ve read all the reports and in a few minutes will have a medical meeting where I will hear more details from the doctors and then we’ll map out a plan for this week.”
If Wentz can’t play, Jacob Eason would likely make his first pro start. Eason didn’t appear in any games in 2020, his rookie season, and was picked off by Rams All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on his second career throw.
Eason took most of the first-team snaps at training camp while Wentz recovered from surgery on his left foot. Eason and rookie Sam Ehlinger also split the action during the three preseason games. Ehlinger sprained his knee in the preseason and won’t be eligible to come off the injured reserve list until next week.
The only other quarterback on Indy’s roster is veteran Brett Hundley. He’s on the practice squad.
But the Colts say they’ve been impressed by the progress Eason has made.
“He’s grown so much and I think that happens for every player going from their rookie year to their second year,” tight end Jack Doyle said. “And getting all those reps in training camp was huge. You’ve got to get the reps in to get better and I think he’s taken a huge jump in reading defenses and identifying coverages.”
They’ll need Eason to play well to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2011.
Wentz already has an extensive medical history.
His 2017 season ended prematurely because of a torn ACL in his left knee. He missed the first two games of 2018 while recovering from knee surgery then missed the final five games, including two playoff games, with a back injury. In January 2020, he threw four passes in a playoff game before being knocked out with a concussion.
He had surgery to remove a bone fragment from his left foot in August and then spent five days on the reserve/COVID-19 list because he was deemed a close contact to someone who tested positive for the virus.
Given all of those things, Indianapolis made the 2022 draft pick acquired by Philadelphia in the March trade contingent on Wentz‘s playing time. If he plays at least 75% of the snaps or 70% of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs, the Eagles get a first-round pick. If he doesn’t, Philadelphia gets a second-rounder.
For now, though, that’s not the concern. The Colts want to get Went back quickly, and he hopes to be back Sunday, too.
“It definitely feels sore,” Wentz said Sunday. “We’ll see how it reacts this week.”
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