For the first time in over three weeks, Colts’ quarterback Carson Wentz practiced for back-to-back days. And, just like during Monday’s practice, he looked excellent once again.
Additionally, both Ryan Kelly and Quenton Nelson returned during Monday’s practice as well. Nelson and Kelly are such a pivotal part of the team’s offense, so having them back on the field is going to help out a Colts’ offensive line which had been struggling a bit through the first few preseason games.
Both Wentz and Nelson’s timeline for a potential return was between 5 and 12 weeks post-surgery, but they have each participated heavily in back-to-back practices which is a great indicator on where they’re likely at health-wise.
“It was a lot of fun,” Wentz said after Monday’s practice. “It was good to get back out there again with the guys.”
Even though Wentz has returned earlier than expected, he did acknowledge that there’s still a few steps ahead before he can be a full participant in practice.
“There’s still stuff that we gotta work through, which is part of the plan,” Wentz said. “You might not see me out here every single day, there might be some rest built in here and there.”
Despite being limited in practice, though, all three starters looked excellent in their returns. Wentz added a fluidity to the Colts’ offense which they hadn’t since he went down with the injury.
During Tuesday’s practice, he seemed to be even more comfortable, as Wentz connected with T.Y. Hilton, who beat Xavier Rhodes, for a 65-yard touchdown early on in practice. He struggled slightly after making a poor decision and tossing an interception to second-year cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, who turned Wentz’s mistake into a pick-6.
The rust comes as no surprise for a quarterback who hasn’t touched the practice field in three weeks, but the Colts are confident they have plenty of time to get Wentz back into the groove of things before the regular season begins.
As Wentz continues to eye a potential Week 1 return, it’s important to remember that the Colts are going to continue slowly easing their quarterback back into the starting offense.
“I’m optimistic, but we’ll see,” Wentz said when asked about his confidence level on being ready for Week 1. “It’s not fully my call. It’s gonna come down to the doctors and surgeons and trainers and seeing how we feel, and a lot will depend on how I respond and how the foot feels day after day of being out here.”
Playing Week 1 is absolutely a legitimate possibility for Wentz, and practicing back-to-back days is unquestionably a gigantic step towards being ready to go come September 12.