WESTFIELD, Ind. — As the Colts were digesting the news of Carson Wentz's foot injury last week, coach Frank Reich offered some perspective to his quarterback.
"I was talking to Carson early, like, hey, our prayer is just that it's clear, that the decision just becomes clear and we know the right thing to do and get the right advice from the right people," Reich said. "And we did, we got that."
Here are four takeaways from what we know now following Monday's announcement that Wentz will have a procedure on his injured left foot.
The plan gives Wentz and the Colts the "most predictable outcome."
Here's how Reich explained the nature of Wentz's injury:
"Everyone was in agreement that it was very plain to see that Carson had an old foot injury, probably a high school injury that was a broken foot some time in high school that he did not know was broken," Reich said. "And then what happened the other day was in the course of practice, over time, whatever the years, something happens — just the right pressure at the right time, the right movement, all of a sudden that little broken bone that was in there, lodged in there, comes loose. That's loose, it causes, as everybody knows, a lot of pain and a lot of aggravation."
So with that in mind, Reich said the Colts, Wentz and the doctors evaluating him never really got close to deciding on rest and rehab being the course of action here. Leaving that broken bone alone would've raised the risk of Wentz's injury flaring up again during the season, and with just under six weeks left until Week 1, making sure the issue got resolved in August made sense.
The procedure gives the Colts and Wentz a measure of certainty going forward — not just in 2021, but beyond — that would not have been provided by rest and rehab.
"We wanted the most predictable outcome, talking to Chris (Ballard) — Chris, like always, brings great leadership in these processes — this is a long-term vision," Reich said. "It was like, hey, what's the most predictable outcome. Let's get the piece out of there, begin the rehab process and think the long haul."
The recovery timetable is between five and 12 weeks.
Where Wentz will ultimately fall in that wide range will become clear once he begins his rehab process begins. For now, the orders for Wentz will be "do nothing," Reich said, for two weeks after his procedure on Monday.
"And then when we really start into the rehab after two weeks, in the next week or two we should start to gain more of a timeframe for a return," Reich said.
Reich, though, explained why he's hopeful Wentz will be on the earlier end of that timeframe.
"Just knowing Carson I'm optimistic," Reich said. "Knowing this is the type of injury you don't have to be pain-free to play in. I know Carson's level of toughness, I know he can play with pain. With this this injury, from listening to the doctors, you have to get to an acceptable level of pain and then you can start playing.
"That could happen early, and if you decide he could play and it keeps getting better as we go but play for a few weeks with that pain, and then best-case is the pain leaves early. So that's the reason for the optimism."
Reich likes where Wentz is mentally.
Reich said the news hit Wentz hard for about two hours, but after that initial gut-punch he saw his quarterback land in an encouraging mental space.
"I love where Carson's at with this," Reich said. "From the outside, it can look like hey, he's had some adversity, had some bad adversity last year and then to start off having to deal with this, you guys know we're close. Personally, I love this for him — I don't love that he's hurt — but this is going to be a chance for him to show who he is to this team, to the world."
Another important note here is Reich wants Wentz to avoid feeling pressure to return before he should — especially because there are things the 28-year-old can do while going through his rehab process that'll get him prepared for his season debut, whenever that may be.
"My understanding is from this injury, the rehab, once you start doing the rehab, he'll be able to do some things," Reich said. "He'll be able to throw a little bit, maybe do some walkthroughs earlier than you think. … There will be times in that rehab process and he's mentally getting tuned in and I think it's a great opportunity for him to get better."
Jacob Eason is the guy.
Reich told Eason on Sunday "Hey, man, it's your show." Eason worked with the Colts' first-team offense with Wentz out in Friday, Saturday and Monday's practices, and Reich said the 2020 fourth round pick is making good progress.
Eason didn't get much on-field practice time last season with Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett ahead of him on the Colts' depth chart. But Reich praised Eason's dedication to working before and after practice and soaking up everything he could from the team's two veterans last year.
Still, as Reich said, "these reps are invaluable" for Eason over the next few weeks.
"He has to prepare like he's starting Week 1," Reich said. "And we don't know if that'll happen or not but he's gotta get ready. And we're going to trust him in that process and support him and get behind him and just help him to continue to get better. He's got the right mindset."
See all the action at Grand Park as the Indianapolis Colts host fans for Back To School Day.