Sports

Irsay says Colts don’t want Wentz to rush back

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Colts owner Jim Irsay said Thursday he told quarterback Carson Wentz that he does not want him to return to the lineup until he’s 100% healthy from his left foot surgery.

“I know he’s such a competitor and wants to be there for his team,” Irsay said. “But he has to help by only coming back when he’s ready because we want to see him healthy for two months and two years and four years and do those things that you see the great players at the Hall of Fame (do). They’re there because they can stay on the field and Carson does everything he can to stay on the field.”

Wentz, who has only played a full season in two of his first five years in the NFL, injured his left foot when he planted to throw during the second day of training camp on July 29. He originally suffered the injury in high school, but never had an issue with it before July 29. Wentz had surgery on Aug. 2.

Irsay’s comments came a day after ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Wentz and All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson, who had the same surgery as the quarterback, are moving in the right direction toward recovering in time for the Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 12.

Both players returned to the practice field as spectators on Tuesday. Wentz has not been wearing a walking boot on his foot during practice, but Nelson had one on his right foot during Thursday’s joint practice against the Carolina Panthers. Nelson, who had surgery on Aug. 3, started all 48 games during his first three years in the NFL. Coach Frank Reich said Nelson was born with the foot issue.

The Colts gave an estimated recovery timetable of between five to 12 weeks for Nelson and Wentz when they announced they were having surgery. The team should have a better idea on their recovery timetable between weeks two and four following the surgery.

Irsay said as of now the Colts will likely go with either second-year quarterback Jacob Eason or rookie Sam Ehlinger as the starter in Week 1 instead of acquiring a quarterback on the outside if Wentz is not ready to return. Eason and Ehlinger are currently splitting snaps with the first team in practice.

“I would probably say we want to go in the way we are, but I know (general manager) Chris (Ballard) and Frank will talk about it and continue to huddle about it and see what happens,” Irsay said. “But I think right now there’s probably a good chance we go in that way, but that could change.”

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