UPDATE: The Eagles downgraded QB Carson Wentz to out in Saturday morning.
In his press conference Friday morning, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced that quarterback Carson Wentz has a “stress injury.”
Wentz missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with what Pederson described Wednesday at “back soreness” and said tests done on Tuesday revealed the stress injury.
Nick Foles handled the first-team reps quarterback in practice this week and will get the start.
“Here’s what I can confirm,” Pederson said of Wentz. “That he has a stress injury, that this thing has evolved over time, and it requires zero surgery to heal.”
Pederson said he would not put an official timetable on how long it will take to make a full recovery but offered an estimate of "possibly" three months.
“The information is that it requires no surgery,” Pederson said. “And the fact that he doesn't need surgery on this is the best news you could possibly have.”
Pederson repeated that what he knows is that the injury evolved over time. He could not identify a time when the injury first came up and said it also does not relate to his knee injury from last season in any way. It was his understanding Wentz was fully healthy after returning from Dallas this week.
The injury was hard to identify because Pederson said there were no symptoms of it. Wentz has appeared on the injury report infrequently this season and those injuries were not identified as stress injuries.
“Moving forward, we've just got to make sure we do a better job protecting (Wentz), starting with the offensive line, starting with the backs,” Pederson said. “But it's not in any way going to change the aggressiveness of my nature or his going forward.”
Pederson said Wentz will only play on Sunday if they are totally sure there is no risk of further injury.
Eagles players in the locker room spoke Thursday about Wentz’s leadership and the possibility of playing without him. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews said he noticed Wentz playing through pain and applauded his toughness.
“I know enough about Carson to know he'll play through anything,” Matthews said. “Tough guy. It doesn't surprise you that he's willing to play through anything like that for his teammates. Everybody here thinks highly of him. We just want the guy to get better, obviously. We're here for him.”
Foles took over for Wentz against the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last season in Week 14 and helped rally the Eagles to victory. He became the starting quarterback for the rest of the season as Wentz recovered from his torn ACL and MCL.
If he has to play, Eagles players and Eagles fans both know what Foles can do.
“Obviously, we have a lot of confidence in Nick,” said wide receiver Nelson Agholor. “We know he's played a lot of football. The city's aware of that and in this locker room, we're aware of that.”
No matter who starts at quarterback on Sunday, the Eagles are going into Los Angeles with confidence and excitement. With a possible Wild Card berth available, there is a lot to play for. Matthews said no one is hanging their heads.
“It's awesome to have a chance,” Matthews said. “That's the best thing. There's still a lot of energy at practice. Everybody is still flying around. Everybody's well aware that if we handle what we have to handle that if the chips fall a certain way, we can definitely get a chance to be in the tournament. So, I just think that alone, everybody here is competitive.”