Wearing a brace around his surgically repaired left knee Youth Isaac Yiadom Jersey , Carson Wentz participated in all of the Philadelphia Eagles' first training camp practice Thursday.
About seven months and two weeks removed from tearing two knee ligaments in a December game against the Rams, Wentz took a handful of reps, mainly leading the second-team offense.
"I thought he was comfortable," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "He did some nice things today. It was very, very limited obviously, but we didn't do too much. I think we had 30 offensive plays. It was good. It was a good first start for everybody."
The Eagles practiced for about two hours and weren't in pads. None of their drills involved serious contact or tackling. The team doesn't usually practice in pads or tackle for the first three days of practice.
Nick Foles, who replaced Wentz and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, worked with the first offense Thursday in Wentz's place. Foles said he doesn't need any commitment at some point from the coaches that he is or isn't the starter for the Sept. 6 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field.
Wentz said he hasn't yet received medical clearance for contact. Pederson offered no timetable for when the team expects Wentz to be cleared for contact practices and also didn't say if Wentz would play in the preseason.
Also undetermined, or just unannounced: How far along Wentz is right now toward full recovery and whether Wentz can expect to be cleared to start on Sept. 6.
"I'm not going to push him or get him out there sooner than he has to," Pederson added. "I want to make sure that he's 100 percent. He looked good today, and we're just going to continue to progress."
Wentz said any decision to clear him for contact practice or a preseason game would be made in conjunction with Pederson and the team's medical staff. Wentz, who set the team record for touchdown passes in a season last year with 33, didn't specify if he believes it's necessary to play in the preseason.
"My goal is Sept. 6," he said. "We'll see what happens with all that. But when I'm ready, I'll be ready."
Pederson sidestepped questions about the long-term plan for Wentz, or even a plan for when Wentz would take snaps with the first-team offense.
Asked when he needed to switch from a rehab mindset to a season preparation approach for his quarterback Kemoko Turay Color Rush Jersey , Pederson said that he wasn't in any hurry to make that decision.
"We got a lot of time," Pederson said, when asked about shifting from rehab mode to season preparation. "Six weeks is a lot of time. A lot time. We're still evaluating everybody. I can't tell you exactly when that's going to be during camp, but ... I'm not going to push him. He and I are married to this deal, you know what I'm saying?"
Panthers coach Ron Rivera may have figured out the only way to avoid injuries to key players in training camp.
”Not practice,” Rivera said after Wednesday’s practice.
The Panthers are less than a week into training camp but have already lost two key players to potential season-ending injuries.
Right tackle Daryl Williams, a second-team All-Pro last season, dislocated his patella and tore his medial collateral ligament during blocking drills on Saturday. Two days later, cornerback Ross Cockrell broke two bones in his leg while trying to break up a pass in the end zone during 11-on-11 team drills.
The Panthers aren’t the only team hurting.
The Green Bay Packers have lost inside linebacker Jake Ryan and safety Kentrell Brice to severe leg injuries, while Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett also went down. Other teams have lost important players to injuries, too.
It’s nothing new, of course.
Injuries happen every year in training camp, a reminder of the fine line coaches must walk between preparing their team for the physicality of the regular season and avoiding injuries to key players that can derail a season.
”If you look at what happened (with our injuries) the truth of the matter is there is nothing you can do about it,” Rivera said. ”That was a freak injury for Ross where the receiver was falling to the ground and he happened to step into it and got rolled up. Daryl was kick-sliding and turned his ankle and came down on it.”
Rivera said injuries are the ”unfortunate nature of this game.”
Still, as a coach he is always looking for ways to prevent them, constantly telling players to ”be smart” on the field.
He did that prior to Wednesday morning’s practice on a slick field at Wofford College following overnight rain.
”I told the defensive backs and the linebackers Youth Jake McCabe Jersey , `Hey, let’s be smart about the receivers crossing because we don’t want to catch anybody in a bad spot,” Rivera said.
Some injuries can be prevented.
That’s why Rivera and his assistants were unhappy with rookie safety Rashaan Gaulden earlier this week he knocked wide receiver Jarius Wright to the ground in the back of the end zone with a vicious blow to the upper body – one that might have collected a fine from the league had it happened in a game situation. Wright remained on the ground for almost a minute before getting up.
He returned to practice a short while later.
Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess immediately yelled at Gaulden after the play, saying ”that’s what we talked about – you have to know better.”
Coaches later called Gaulden aside to reprimand him.
”Hey, that’s going to be very suspect because it falls right into the ram, butt and spear idea of using the helmet,” Rivera said. ”So we’ve got to make sure these young people understand it.”
Overall, Panthers left Matt Kalil said that ”sometimes you just can’t control” injuries.
”You want to play aggressive out here and you want to go full speed and get a game-time simulation,” Kalil said. ”We want to be smart. I think what we can do as veterans, and as players, is we have a guy who is about to fall we want to keep him up and keep him off the ground. But it’s hard because there are a lot of guys flying around out here.”
Panthers cornerback James Bradberry said there is a contact on every play.
”It’s very tough because one of the key components of making a Super Bowl run is having everybody healthy. And when you have prominent guys go down, it’s tough,” Bradberry said. ”You’ve just got to have that next-man-up mentality. And that’s what we have here.”
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