Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is standing by Carson Wentz as his pick for NFL MVP even after the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his team's 43-35 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
"He's the MVP of the league so far with what he's been doing as a quarterback and the success of their team," James said Tuesday, according to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin. "Like I told you, besides Julio [Jones], AB [Antonio Brown] and Tom Brady, Carson has been my favorite player to watch right now. It's unfortunate that two of the brighter stars in the NFL, him and Deshaun [Watson], lose their season over injuries."
James also said the injury "sucks" as he reflected on what's been a trying campaign on the medical front for several of the NFL's biggest stars.
"Injuries is part of the game, but this year it's been a little wacky," James said. "I don't know what it is. I was actually watching the game when it happened, and when I seen the hit happen, I was like, 'Oh that didn't look good.' And then when he threw the touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, he didn't even get turned all the way around. He kind of side threw it like Bernie Kosar used to throw. I was like, 'Something is wrong with his knee.'"
To James' initial point, Wentz has the numbers to justify a hefty share of MVP votes come February.
In 13 games, the second-year signal-caller completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,296 yards and a league-leading 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions while posting a robust mark of 12.4 yards per completion.
Those numbers are especially impressive considering Wentz leads the league in aggressive throw percentage (25.7), which "tracks the amount of passing attempts a quarterback makes that are into tight coverage, where there is a defender within one yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion," according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats database.
The question at this point is whether voters will be willing to overlook Wentz's absence over the final three weeks of the regular season when they likely decide between him, New England Patriots quarterback Brady and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Brown for the league's most prestigious individual hardware.