Colts' Carson Wentz, Quenton Nelson could be on different ends of 5-12 week recovery timeline

WESTFIELD, Ind. -- The broad timeframe for the recovery of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz and guard Quenton Nelson from foot surgery is nothing to be alarmed about, ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell said.

Wentz and Nelson had the same surgery on back-to-back days -- Aug. 2 and 3 -- to have a foot bone removed. The Colts said both players could be out between five and 12 weeks.

“The range for recovery is very real,” Bell said. “The injury has happened so rarely, that it could take a range of samples, that I think the average is around the 10-week range. But it also depends on so many things -- the individual, the context of other stuff they are dealing with.

“This is not a super-common injury. The numbers show you can come back in as little as six weeks and as long as 12 weeks. That’s the reality. The Colts are not trying to be tricky or deceptive. That’s based on the data of people coming back from a similar injury. They are being more forthcoming quite honestly.”

Wentz suffered the injury to his left foot while planting to throw in the July 29 practice. Nelson injured his right food during the Aug. 2 practice. Both players had a history of dealing with foot injuries. Wentz, according to coach Frank Reich, suffered the injury when he was in high school, but he never had any issues with it prior to July 29. Reich said Nelson was born with the foot issue.

“Just one of those things. If you had an acute injury, you subject the area that was injured before to a new acute injury, and it becomes a problem again,” Bell said. “Sort of waits, kind of hanging below the surface, not an issue until you do the thing that makes it an issue.”

Wentz and Nelson could have held off having surgery, instead choosing to rest and hope the injury would heal. Doing that could have been risky because they face the possibility of missing more time if they re-injure the foot down the road.

“This route gives them the definitive resolution,” Bell said. “Physically, it addresses the issue of the fragment. They remove it, and it also gives you piece of mind mentally. Not wondering if it’s coming back, not wondering if it’s going to be a problem. It’s gone and done, moving on.”

The first two weeks after surgery will be mainly rest. A better indication on recovery will be once rehabilitation starts between weeks two and four. Players, especially depending on their position and how much force they use on their foot, recover at different rates.

Nelson, for instance, has to be able to firmly plant his foot in the ground and be able to handle having large linemen with 300-plus-pound force pushing him back while he tries to stay planted. Wentz uses his foot more for quickness, pivoting off it and changing direction.

“Should have a straight-forward rehab, and if he does, it doesn’t seem unreasonable he could be back in five to six weeks,” Bell said of Wentz. “But that’s on the good side. It also could take longer … It comes down to, once they get past those weeks of rest, how quickly they get back to the point they can withstand the load they will have on it.”