According to reports, Carson Wentz is expected to miss four to six weeks with a fractured ring finger on his throwing hand.
The NFL Network reported Monday that the Washington Commanders quarterback is in need of surgery and the team will consider placing Wentz in the wounded reserve as soon as he recovers. Wentz broke his finger in a 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday and visited a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Monday for an injury.
This injury is a big blow for Wentz and the Commanders. Now the team will likely turn Taylor Heinicke back up for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers and beyond.
This isn’t the first time Heinicke has been forced to play as an injured starter. Last year, the 29-year-old replaced injured Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first week after the signal caller suffered an end-of-season hip injury. Heinicke did a great job leading Washington to 7-8 in 15 starts. The Commanders finished the year at #21, the highest ranking since 2016, according to Heinicke, in Offensive DVOA, a Football Outsiders metric that measures effectiveness.
If Wentz is absent for six weeks, he will miss the next match. Green Bay, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta. If he is placed on the injury reserve, Wentz will miss at least four games and will not be eligible to return to the Texas tournament on November 20.
Two of those competitions were particularly noteworthy as Wentz was due to face off against previous teams at the Colts and Eagles. Washington’s October 30 game will mark Wentz’s return to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since Wentz traded him to the Commanders from Indianapolis in March. And on November 14, Washington’s game in Philadelphia was Wentz’s first game as a visitor at Lincoln Financial Field.
Instead, Heinicke will try to keep Washington’s season going. The quarterback will get a chance against rookie Sam Howell. The Commanders drafted the North Carolina product in the fifth round last spring, but manager Ron Rivera has consistently said Heinike has been firmly established as Wentz’s backup throughout the offseason.