Colts QB Carson Wentz out 5-12 weeks because of surgery to remove bone from left foot
WESTFIELD — Colts quarterback Carson Wentz will undergo surgery Monday afternoon to remove a piece of his bone from his left foot, a procedure that will keep the Indianapolis starter out for five to 12 weeks. Wentz would miss zero to seven games under that timeline.
Doctors determined that Wentz unknowingly suffered a broken foot at some point in his career, likely in high school, and when the quarterback planted his foot in practice last Thursday, a piece of the bone came loose.
Wentz and the Colts had two options after getting opinions from their team doctors and from Dr. Robert Anderson, the NFL's foremost specialist on the foot.
"The next couple of days were a discussion over, 'Well, we can leave it in there, try to manage it and see how it holds up over the course of the year and take our chances,' but we wanted the most predictable outcome," Colts head coach Frank Reich said. "Let's get the piece out of there, begin the rehab process and plan for the long haul."
Dr. David Porter of Methodist Sports Medicine will perform the surgery at 4 p.m. Monday.
By making the decision to perform surgery, the Colts know that there is a possibility Wentz could miss games during the regular season — potentially as many as seven games in a worst-case scenario.
Indianapolis decided it was better to deal with Wentz's absence now, rather than to lose Wentz halfway through the season in the middle of a playoff race.
"If we rehab, it's going to be fine in a couple of weeks, but if it creeps back up in the middle of the season and then you're out five to 12 weeks, that's not going to work," Reich said. "Let's get this on the front end and hope for the best. ... We've got a good roster. If he has to miss a game or two, we'll be fine."
Indianapolis currently has only one quarterback on the roster, recently-signed Brett Hundley, who has taken snaps in an NFL game.
For the moment, second-year quarterback Jacob Eason is the Colts starter. Eason, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, was essentially forced to take a redshirt year in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on the schedule.
"The job is Jacob's right now," Reich said. "He's got to prove it, he knows that, but he's in the driver's seat."
Eason will take the starter's snaps for the next couple of weeks while the Colts get a better handle on how much time it's going to take Wentz to get his foot back in playing shape.
"We asked the two best doctors in the world what the time frame was, and the answer is five to 12 weeks," Reich said. "It's a big range, and there's no way to know where you're going to fall on that continuum until you get into the rehab process. Obviously, we're optimistic and hopeful we can be on the front end of that, but the reality is, you can be anywhere on that spectrum."
The Colts are aware of examples of athletes who returned quickly from the injury, including a local basketball player Reich declined to name. There are also examples of athletes who have taken a long time to recover.
Indianapolis will begin to get those answers after the team's first preseason game Aug. 15.
"What I heard was in that two- to three- to four-week area, we'll start to get a sense," Reich said. "That first two weeks after the surgery is pretty much do nothing, let it be, and then once you start the rehab after two weeks, in the next week or two we should start to get more of a time frame."
Whenever Wentz is able to begin his rehabilitation in earnest, he'll be able to start doing football activities quickly. Wentz can throw while recovering from surgery, and he'll be able to do walk-throughs.
Ultimately, Wentz's return to the field will likely depend on his ability to tolerate the pain.
"Knowing Carson, I'm optimistic," Reich said. "Knowing that this is the type of injury you don't have to be pain-free to play with. I know Carson's level of toughness. I know he can play with pain. With this injury, listening to the doctors you have to get to an acceptable level of pain, and then you can start playing."
Always optimistic, Reich is confident in both Wentz's ability to recover from the injury, and the Colts roster to play competitive football in Wentz's absence.
"We have an opportunity to deal with some adversity early," Reich said. "Let's deal with it, handle it and develop some confidence."
Contact IndyStar Colts insider Joel A. Erickson at (317) 444-6182 or email@example.com. Follow Joel on Twitter: @JoelAErickson.