A back injury has limited Carson Wentz in practice at times this season, and now it’s been reported that he has fractured vertebrae.
A back injury that had put Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz on the injury report earlier this season took a negative turn this week, with missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday. With his status for the rest of the season automatically up in the air, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported Wentz is dealing with fractured vertebrae in his back.
The Eagles are 6-7, and clinging to slim playoff chances. So Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Rams is a must-win, and it would be tall task to beat the Rams on the road even if Wentz was available and fully healthy.
It’s been reported simple rest will heal Wentz’s injury without further issues, so shutting him down has to be an option for the Eagles. But barring a late change in plan, the team is apparently not ready to give up on the idea he’ll play against the Rams.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network passed along the expectation Nick Foles will start Sunday night, even with Wentz traveling. The flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles surely won’t be kind to Wentz’s back, and head coach Doug Pederson’s elaboration on the “evolution” of the injury stands as a point in the corner of declaring Wentz out and leaving him home.
The Eagles need to beat the Rams to maintain any realistic chance to make the playoffs. Having Wentz out there would help that cause, even at less than full strength, and it can be assumed he’s been playing with fractured vertebrae in his back recently. So the overall risk may be minimal from some perspective, as a loss Sunday assures no better than a .500 record as a follow up to last year’s Super Bowl win.
Foles stepped in after Wentz was injured last year, and rode a hot streak all the way to becoming Super Bowl MVP. The situation is far different this year, but the Eagles have to protect Wentz and cross their fingers Foles has some more improbable magic in him. If Foles does play well, he will re-boost his stock ahead of hitting free agency in March.
If Wentz keeps playing, there’s an inherent standing risk he’ll suffer a greater injury to his back. The long-term health of the franchise quarterback, who also suffered a major knee injury just over a year ago, has to take precedent over a slim chance to play a playoff game which may go to no chance with a loss Sunday night.