WESTFIELD – A good indicator of a player’s readiness in his return from injury is how he looks to the naked eye.
If you didn’t know he had surgery three weeks ago, is it apparent? Was there hesitancy? A hitch in his gait when he jogged from one area of the practice field to another?
Carson Wentz was back on the Grand Park Sports Campus practice fields Monday morning, and it was as if he hadn’t been away three weeks after having surgery Aug. 2 – three weeks ago to do the day – to remove a pesky bone fragment in his left foot.
“Long time no see,’’ he said. “It was good to get back out there with the guys.’’
The plan was for Wentz to be limited in his return, and that was a relative term. He participated in every first-team rep over the first 50 minutes of practice – individual, 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s – and only took a step back in team drills.
He threw 50 passes, and at the risk of being too harsh on Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger, Monday was the best day of quarterbacking at Grand Park since day 2 when Wentz felt that “twinge’’ in his left foot that put everything in motion.
“I thought Carson looked good,’’ Frank Reich said. “When I first saw him hopping around out there, I thought, ‘Woo, looks pretty good.’ I had seen a little of it indoors (last week), but just to see it out here on the grass and the speed he was moving, I thought he looked good.
“The big question now is how does it respond?’’
Barring a setback, there seems every likelihood Wentz will be ready for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
“I’m optimistic, but we’ll see,’’ Wentz said. “Honestly, it’s not fully my call. It’s going to come down to the doctors and surgeons and trainers and see how it feels. And a lot will depend on how I respond and how the foot feels day after day being out here.’’
Reich admitted Wentz might be a week ahead in his rehab routine, and last week said “in a perfect world” Wentz would need two weeks of solid practice time to be adequately prepared for the Seahawks.
Now, he’ll have three weeks, even though this week Wentz won’t be handling a full load.
Is three weeks enough?
“It’s going to have to be,’’ Wentz said. “I’d love to get as many reps as I could out here.’’
The main issue over the next few weeks is how the foot responds and the level of pain Wentz experiences. Owner Jim Irsay recently said he wanted his quarterback to be 100% before returning.
Wentz, though, indicated being 100% isn’t necessarily a requirement for him.
“It’s up the doctors, for sure,’’ he said. “As long as there’s nothing I can do to injure myself or make it worse, I know I’ve played through a lot worse.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.