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Carson Wentz's back injury: Why it isn't terrible news

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 13, 2018 - 12:57 pm

The news on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is in and it is not great —but it could have been way worse.  

According to an ESPN report, Wentz has a fractured vertebrae in his back that does not require surgery. The report states that with time to heal, Wentz will not experience further issue with the back. 

Although the report states there will be “continued evaluation” to determine if he will play, the chances that Wentz sees the field again in 2018 have to be considered slim. 

Here are some initial thoughts on the news of Wentz’s injury:

Short-term: Although the team has not yet announced anything, it sounds like Wentz will heal with rest, and that is exactly what the Eagles should do. Even though their playoff chances are not over, the reality is that they are very slim, and trying to fight their way into the playoffs on the injured back of Wentz is not the right move. Unless there is new information, Wentz shouldn’t play another snap this season. 

Long-term: The obvious concern here for the franchise is the long-term health of Wentz. The investment this team has made in Wentz is well known. To say they need him to be their franchise quarterback for years to come is an understatement. There are few areas that matter more to an athlete, in any sport, than their back. Although each back injury is different, the fact that the franchise quarterback is having issues with his back is not great news. 

The major bright spot for the Eagles in this situation is that Wentz reportedly will not require surgery. That is a big deal. Based off of the initial reports, it sounds like Wentz will heal with rest, something he is about to likely get months of. Other quarterbacks in the NFL -- such as Derek Carr and Cam Newton -- have missed just one game in the past with a fracture in their back. 

It is also worth noting that Wentz has been playing with back pain for weeks, and he has been playing at a pretty high level. He has not been perfect, but he has not looked like a shell of himself. In theory, once Wentz has the issue fixed, his play will improve.

Contract: Wentz’s injury could not have come at a worse time for the quarterback. Wentz is eligible for a new contract this offseason for the first time in his career, and if he would have ended the season healthy, the two sides would have likely struck a deal one a record-breaking contract. Now, coming off of a season in which he will end it on the bench with a back injury, you have to wonder if the Eagles will want to sign him to a long-term deal right now — or if Wentz will want to sign a deal where his value is at the lowest it might ever be. 

Either way, the back injury to Wentz is going to be something to consider when deciding what kind of contract to hand Wentz. 

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