WESTFIELD – It wasn’t long before Carson Wentz felt comfortable on Monday.
Three weeks after foot surgery, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback looked sharp in his first training camp at Grand Park. He finished 27 of 44 with three touchdowns and a distracted interception while working mostly in seven-on-seven drills.
The movement and arm strength that marked his five-year career appeared to be intact, and the timing and ball placement may even have been a little earlier than planned. The first clues came on a sailing route from a bundle formation to wide receiver Zach Pascal.
Wentz threaded the needle between two defenders and announced his return to the field with authority.
âThis ball? Right above the head of the nickel, in front of the head of the corner, right on top of the money, âsaid Pascal. “When I saw this – that was early – when I saw this, I thought, ‘Okay, my dog ââis back.'”
Similar energy dominated the 90-minute session in which the 28-year-old quarterback threw touchdowns in the red zone against Jack Doyle, wide receiver TY Hilton and wide receiver Mike Strachan. His only interception came with a throw over the middle, which ricocheted off the hands of undrafted wide receiver Tyler Vaughns and was brought to safety by Sean Davis.
It was the most public sign that Wentz’s recovery is going well. The Colts were optimistic that he would return quickly, while setting up a broad schedule of five to twelve weeks after surgery to remove a loose fragment of bone in his foot.
After the first three weeks, even head coach Frank Reich is positively surprised by the results.
“I’m probably a little surprised – just a little,” said Reich. âBefore, when the doctors said what they said, I thought that after three weeks maybe we could start doing some things, light throwing. But I think what helped is, as we said later, I know the surgery was the best scenario and everything went well and the recovery was very quick. This is how it feels to me – what do I know? – but to me it just feels like we’re probably a week ahead of where I thought we might be. I thought the best scenario would be for him to start doing what he did (Monday) next week. “
Wentz mastered the big day with flying colors.
He was obviously excited to be back on the field with his teammates and is eager to return on a full-time basis. But he also understands that much of this process is beyond his control.
He listens to the doctors and sports coaches and literally follows their recommendations. The practice on Monday was just the next step in the ongoing rehab program.
âWe still have a lot to work through,â said Wentz. âIt’s part of the plan. You may not see me out here every day. There may be some calm built in here and there, but it just feels good to keep pushing a little while letting it heal at the same time. We followed this line today. “
The next big checkpoint is recovery.
Wentz squeezed his foot hard during practice and took almost all of the seven-on-seven snaps while quarterbacks Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger and Brett Hundley watched from the sidelines. The question now is how the foot reacts on Tuesday morning.
Reich said Wentz worked hard throughout the process, but he still has days to put together. The immediate goal now is to stack the days and work towards a return to full team practice.
In the meantime, the energy the quarterback brought into training late in camp was evident.
“He was excited. I know that,” Doyle said. “He talked a lot about it. You could tell he had that little look in his eyes and the adrenaline rush went. So that was fun, and I’m sure it was He had a lot of fun. That’s why we’re all out here. But yeah, it was great to see him look so good. He had to get a little tired. I always said that because his adrenaline shot up. You could see it. But no, it looked like he was having fun. “