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INDIANAPOLIS – The first major step in the returns of Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson are here.

Both players will return to practice on Monday, participating on a limited basis, in their first on-field work since having foot surgery three weeks ago.

For Wentz, this means he has a shot at playing Week 1, which would be at the just past the 5-week mark of the original 5-to-12 week timetable.

While the work this week for Wentz will likely be on an individual basis, that still leaves two more weeks of practice until the regular season opener against Seattle.

Frank Reich has said previously that Wentz could start against the Seahawks with just one week of teamwork practice. Ideally, the new QB would get two weeks of work in with the starting offense.

The big tell this week will be how Wentz’s foot responds to ramping up his physical activity. This is the ultimate barometer to see how quickly Wentz can return to game action.

Early on, the expectation is Wentz’s practice work will be minimal. But if he follows a similar plan to how healthy quarterbacks take part in individual drills at practice, that would be doing some throwing on the run.

Several hurdles still remain before Wentz is actually cleared for the season opener, but this is another positive sign as he enters the most critical and truest test of his rehab.

Along with Wentz and Nelson, Ryan Kelly (elbow) is expected back to practice on Monday.

What else did we learn from Reich on Monday?

  • Until Wentz gets back to full team activities at practice, the competition between Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger will continue for another week. Reich wouldn’t commit to either QB as the “leader” at this point, stating both guys are in the same “zip code.” The Colts aren’t sure on a starter at QB for Friday’s preseason finale in Detroit. Three practices remain at Grand Park (Monday-Wednesday) before the third and final preseason game this Friday.

 

  • Reich liked how left tackle Julie’n Davenport played with the first unit on Saturday, both in the pass and run game. Davenport appears to enter the final week of the preseason as the lead guy at left tackle, until Eric Fisher returns. The Colts have moved both Will Holden and Sam Tevi to the second team over the past week or so.

 

  • It’s the consistency of Ben Banogu that has truly impressed the coaching staff this camp. Banogu was disruptive again on Saturday against Minnesota. Banogu’s talent was never a concern for the staff, but they wanted to see more confidence out of the third-year DE. He backed up a strong camp with a nice performance against the Vikings.

 

  • On the vaccine front, the Colts saw an uptick in player vaccinations at the start of camp, with the current number hovering around 75 percent of the roster. Reich said that number has leveled off as of late. The Colts remain one of the least vaccinated teams in the NFL.

 

  • The final play of the game on Saturday saw versatile defensive back Andre Chachere suffer a concussion. Chachere has been a nice surprise at camp this year, showing off important position flexibility. He’s competing for one of the final spots on the roster.

 

  • The Colts will return to practice on Monday, with three practices left at Grand Park.