Carson Wentz is back from the COVID-19 list.
The Indianapolis Colts activated their starting quarterback from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, one day ahead of a 1 p.m. ET home game against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Colts also activated cornerback T.J. Carrie and elevated long snapper Kyle Nelson, safety Will Redmond, quarterback Brett Hundley and defensive tackle Chris Williams from the practice squad.
Saturday was Wentz’s fifth day of isolation after testing positive for the virus early in the week. He still has to show up Sunday with his symptoms “resolved or improved,” according to the new NFL policy, but the expectation is that he will be ready to start for a 16th consecutive game.
If he’s not, sixth-round rookie Sam Ehlinger would step in for his first career passes. He took all the first-team practice reps this week with Wentz in isolation.
Starting right tackle Braden Smith also was activated and will be back after missing the Christmas game in Arizona, provided that he is also able to avoid symptoms on Sunday.
Wentz’s status was up in the air on Tuesday, when the Colts placed him on the list and when the current NFL protocols called for unvaccinated players to miss at least 10 days. The Colts reached out to Philip Rivers about the situation, but then the NFL and the players association agreed to shorten the isolation period for all players from 10 days to five.
Wentz was the last of the Colts’ top unvaccinated players to test positive, but the timing is now such that he will not miss a game to the virus this season. He will not be tested for another 90 days, clearing him for the final two regular-season games and as far into the playoffs as the Colts can go.
He will have to face the Raiders with no practice reps this week, but he’ll also have some of his fellow starters back. All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson, right guard Mark Glowinski and wide receiver Zach Pascal all returned from COVID-19 absences this week, and Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly is back after missing two games following the death of his infant daughter.
Wentz has been a mostly steady force under center in his first season with the Colts after a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s completing 63% of his passes with 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions.
“I’m very confident in Carson’s preparation this week. He’s been dialed in on Zoom meetings,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “The good news when you talk about T.J., Carson and Braden, these are guys who have played a lot of football who can handle it. You don’t normally ideally like someone coming in and not practicing, but we’re late in the year and these guys have played a lot of football.
“If it works out, we’re confident that they’ll play winning football.”
The Colts also waived offensive linemen Joey Hunt and Greg Senat. Cornerback Chris Wilcox was restored to the practice squad after being on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Contact Indianapolis Colts insider Nate Atkins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NateAtkins_.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort