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  • Writer's pictureRandon Hall, MD

Carson Wentz Should Not Return Until 2019-2020 Season

Carson Wentz Plans on being ready for the 2018-2019 NFL Season

Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles standout quarterback, was arguably on pace to earn MVP for the 2017-2018 NFL season. However, he tore his ACL on December 10th, 2017, as he dove towards the end zone. The Eagles went on to beat the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl without Wentz. He has had a successful reconstruction of his ACL, and reports now state he is expected to return in approximately 9-10 months from his surgery date. The timeline would put Carson on track to be completely ready for the start of next season. There is only one problem: he won't be ready, and he will be putting his future career in jeopardy.

Return is based on function, not time

The emerging data suggests that full strength and neuromuscular control does not return back to normal for up to 1 to 2 years (see article below). The era of giving a definitive timeline to return has passed us by. Carson will need to undergo a battery of tests that can help determine if the way the muscles and nerves talk to each other is back to his pre-injury state. We now more clearly understand that no matter how gifted an athlete you are, this process takes time. It is not simply strength, but a combination of agility, balance and neuromuscular control that helps to protect against a re-injury.

Nothing to Gain, Everything to Lose

Carson has nothing to gain and everything to lose. His team has just come off a historic championship season. So, even if he has an amazing season that ends in a playoff loss, it will still be a disappointment compared to the 2017-2018 season. There is no one disputing his skill or determination. So, why not take the big picture view and invest in his future, rather than risk it all to get back next season. There is no guarantee that he will stay healthy even if he waits to return, but he definitely won't be the same athlete if he ends up with a second ACL tear. Why not reduce the risk as much as possible?


Orthop J Sports Med. 2017 Dec 19;5(12):2325967117745279. doi: 10.1177/2325967117745279. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Paterno MV1,2, Huang B3, Thomas S2, Hewett TE4, Schmitt LC5.

CONCLUSION:These findings recognize measures that accurately identify young patients at high risk of sustaining a second ACL injury within 24 months after RTS. The development of a clinical decision algorithm to identify high-risk patients, inclusive of clinically feasible variables such as age, sex, confidence, and performance on the triple hop for distance, can serve as a foundation to re-evaluate appropriate discharge criteria for RTS.

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