ASHBURN, Va. – Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera confirmed that quarterback Carson Wentz underwent surgery Monday on the right ring finger he fractured against the Chicago Bears on Thursday.
Washington is unsure if Wentz will need to go on injured reserve, which would require him to miss a minimum of four games. Rivera said Tuesday the team will know more about Wentz’s response to the rehab, which has already begun, later in the week. For now, he remains under the supervision of hand specialists in California.
Taylor Heinicke will assume starting duties against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Heinicke, 29, started 15 games for Washington in 2021 after Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with an injury in the season opener. He threw for 3,419 yards, 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in those agmes.
Rivera said the coaching staff is encouraged by his familiarity with offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s system and what he can do with his legs.
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“He’s a very knowledgeable guy, and as far as learning the game and knowing the game, there is no concern,” Rivera said.
Last week, Rivera issued an apology after saying “quarterback” was the reason Washington found itself behind its NFC East rivals in the standings. Wentz threw for 99 yards on 12 of 22 passing in a 12-7 victory over the Bears.
Wentz, who was acquired in the offseason, has thrown for 1,489 yards and 10 touchdowns against six interceptions this year.
“The truth of the matter is, it is about quarterbacks,” Rivera said Tuesday. “This league, if you have a quarterback, if you’re able to develop this and have that guy go, a lot of good things can happen.”
Rookie Sam Howell, a fifth-round draft pick from the 2022 draft, will be active for the first time in his career as the backup. The Commanders also signed Jake Fromm to the practice squad for additional quarterback depth.
Rivera said there wasn’t much consideration given to starting Howell, who had been pegged as a potential top-10 pick prior to his final season at North Carolina that saw him slip in the draft.
“Ever since I got here, I’ve been trying to prepare like I’m a starter,” Howell said. “Now that I’m one play away, I’m just going to try to do everything I can to be ready if I have to go in. I feel for Carson, good friend of mine. He’s been so good to me so I hope his recovery is going well.”