ProFootballDoc: Top 5 QB Injury Questions Heading Into NFL Season

The NFL regular season approaches and the heart of fantasy draft season is here, so there are plenty of injuries to discuss. Here are the top five quarterback injury questions. Top five running back, wide receiver and tight end injury questions will follow in the next few days. For a full rundown of all the key injuries on all 32 teams, click here to get the 73 page searchable report free.

QB Top 5 injury questions:

1. Carson Wentz The Colts’ new signal caller injured a small bone in his foot and, after some initial confusion about how to proceed, decided to have surgery to remove it. Now the confusion is the 5-12 week timeline that the team has put on his return. Besides being wide range, medical professionals don't use that timeline. Sometimes we might say 6-12, but I have never heard of using that type of spread. The reason for using it could be that Week 1 of the regular season was five weeks away when the timeline was given, and the team wanted to keep hope alive that Wentz could be ready to start the season. Despite optimistic reports of walking briskly at practice without a boot or a limp, we still believe that it will be tough for him to be ready for the opener against the Seahawks. The team owner said that Wentz would only play when 100%, and there is no way he will be by then. Our initial projection for a return remains this October. Exactly when in October is the question, and that depends on swelling and recovery. So, given good news, the earliest target might be Week 3 vs the Titans. Unless the team changes its mind and tries to play Wentz at less than 100%, it looks like the Colts will have to start the year with fourth round pick Jacob Eason, but at least it won't be the whole year. Wentz played 12 games for the Eagles last year, finishing with 2,620 passing yards, 16 TDs and 15 INTs.

2. Dak Prescott  The early training camp shoulder injury was initially said to be day to day and related to fatigue, but we did not believe that and said so at the time. After missing three weeks, Prescott is back throwing and working his way back. Even though we felt the latisimus dorsi (upper back/shoulder) muscle strain was a big deal for preseason, we have always believed -- and continue to fully believe -- that Dak will be the opening day starter. With all the shoulder talk, let's not forget about the gruesome ankle fracture/dislocation from Week 5 last season, which actually may have led to the shoulder strain. Dak is doing well but probably only 95% on the ankle. In an effort to compensate for his ankle, he may not have been fully stepping into throws, which may have resulted in the strain. Only minimal worries here for Dak going forward.

3. QB Joe Burrow  The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft suffered an ACL/MCL tear and patella subluxation in Week 11 last year and required surgery. While some national TV pundits suggested Burrow would/should take the entire 2021 season off to return in 2022, we felt all along that he would be ready to start this season. He passed his entry physical and was not placed on PUP, but that does not mean his knee is 100%. Burrow needs to knock the rust off, get the knee stronger and overcome the mental hurdle to have confidence that he won't be reinjured. He will wear a protective brace in the lead leg. Another Bengals QB Carson Palmer had a very similar injury and returned strongly in his next season, especially in the second half. Burrow will be there but expect a stronger second half of the season than the first.

4. QB Patrick Mahomes  The former MVP and Offensive Player of the Year suffered a significant turf toe injury last year that required surgery after the season. The lingering effects were apparent in the postseason and Super Bowl. Turf toe surgery typically carries a six-month timeline for recovery, which would put a tight timeline on a training camp return for mere mortals. Not for Mahomes, who seems to have recovered well and avoided the PUP list at the start of camp. Mahomes finished last year with 4,740 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and six interceptions. If his revamped offensive line holds up, he is poised for another big year.

5. QB Tom Brady  After the Super Bowl win and the boat parade, Brady underwent his third surgery on his left knee MCL. The injury stemmed for his time with the Patriots, and he reportedly played with it all year. Recovery is reliable from this procedure, and Brady has not missed time this preseason. Age eventually catching up to Tom is a bigger issue than his knee at this point. However, he will continue to wear that lead leg brace as a precaution.

For the rest of the QBs and all other position players, go to for free. Next up tomorrow: Top 5 running back injury questions where we will address CMC, Saquon and more.

Written by
David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.