Colts’ Wentz, Nelson set to return to practice

  • Previously worked at Indianapolis Star, covering the Indiana Pacers for nine seasons
  • Also covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, guard Quenton Nelson and center Ryan Kelly will practice on a limited basis this week, coach Frank Reich said Sunday.

Wentz has been out since injuring his left foot on the second day of training camp on July 29. Nelson has been out since Aug. 2 after dealing with the same injury, but on his right foot. Wentz and Nelson had foot surgery on Aug. 2 and 3, respectively. Kelly has been out with a left elbow injury since July 30.

Wentz and Nelson returning to practice is the bigger news because the Colts said Kelly would only be out a couple of weeks with his elbow injury. The team gave a five- to 12-week time frame on Wentz and Nelson’s recoveries. Monday will mark the three-week mark since Wentz had surgery, and it’ll be three weeks since Nelson’s on Tuesday.

The expectation isn’t to have all three players take part in every drill during practice this week. The coaching staff will slowly ease them back in to avoid any possible setbacks. Wentz has played all 16 games in a season just twice in the first five years of his career. Nelson has not missed a game since entering the NFL in 2018.

The goal is try to have Wentz and Nelson ready for the Week 1 game against Seattle on Sept. 12. Reich said last week that he wants at least Wentz to have at least a couple weeks of practice before he plays in a regular-season game.

“In the perfect world, we have a really good idea after that third preseason game and Carson would get to work two weeks going into the first game,” Reich said last week. “That’s the perfect world. The next perfect world is he only gets the work of game week. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. It could be Week 2, Week 3. That’s still to be determined. He has not pushed it. Everything’s going well but we have not pushed it yet. We’re going to have to wait until we get to the point where we push it and see how things respond and we just don’t want to do that too soon, too fast.”

Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger have been splitting first-team snaps for the past two weeks. Neither player has taken control of the competition to be the starter if Wentz is not ready for the start of the regular season. Reich said he hasn’t decided who will start the preseason finale at Detroit on Aug. 27.

Eason is 31-of-48 for 315 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in the preseason. Ehlinger is 18-of-28 for 225 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

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