So, are you awake yet today? If you are at least somewhat awake (and I've been awake for about 30 hours now), you know that someone must have really pissed off the football gods yesterday, because they are now raining injuries on the Colts. So, my purpose in making this FanPost right now is two-fold. First, I want to get all of the injuries in one place for easy access. Also, I want to examine the positions afflicted with the injury curse (not an injury bug; I've upgraded it to a curse) and see who is left starting and what quality of depth is available for these positions. Because injuries have affected seemingly every part of this team, I'm going to do this unit-by-unit. By the way, those in a fragile emotional state might not want to read the rest of this FanPost. Don't wanna get sued for something that might happen to you ;-)
The analysis format is this:
Unit: Starters if the game was played today (Any healthy depth if the game was played today), List of injured players with injury description, Any other analysis of this position (like depth issues)
Let's start off on a good note with the offense, shall we?
Running Back: Joseph Addai (Donald Brown, Mike Hart, Chad Simpson), Since Brown practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday, I have to assume he's 100% healthy and ready to go Sunday, This is one of our best positions, injury-wise, right now. Brown was previously hurt but seems fine now, and Addai-Brown makes an efficient 1-2 combo.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning (Jim Sorgi, Curtis Painter), Some speculated that Peyton was sick last Friday, but the team said it was a planned resting period and will become a regular thing. I'll trust that they're not stupid enough to lie to us, Once again, we're completely fine here. No injuries to date.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie (Gijon Robinson, Hank Baskett, Jacob Tamme, Justin Snow), Anthony Gonzalez- arthroscopic knee surgery on 11/05/09 to clean out loose stuff remaining in the knee, supposed to be back in 2-3 weeks, Wayne, Clark, and Collie are awesome, and are consistently making Peyton (and us) happy, that's for sure. However, Gonzo is a great and consistent receiver who should have a bright future ahead of him if he can stay healthy. Right now, Gonzo's injury rates as a pretty big loss mostly because Garcon has seemed to forget how to catch the ball again. We saw his drops in preseason, and they're back. It's also important to remember that we literally haven't had Gonzo all season, so we should see a solid bump in the offense upon his return, unlike our offense getting worse until he gets back, if that makes sense. Unless Garcon can become the receiver he was against Miami and Arizona again, this offense will continue to struggle a little bit by its standards until Gonzo makes his triumphant return.
Offensive Line: Charlie Johnson, Ryan Lilja, Jeff Saturday, Mike Pollak/Kyle DeVan, Ryan Diem (Dan Federkeil, Jamey Richard, Tony Ugoh), No injuries to date. The only one the whole year has been to Charlie Johnson to my knowledge, and he's completely fine now, The lack of depth here is concerning. There's only 4 players readily available to sub for an injury, and the Colts usually scratch 2 of them. Other than that, we're fine with what we have on the O-line.
Now let's move on to the defense:
Defensive Line: Dwight Freeney, Dan Muir, Antonio Johnson, Robert Mathis (Keyunta Dawson, Raheem Brock, Eric Foster, Fili Moala, Josh Thomas), Aside from Ed Johnson getting axed for fatness and Dwight Freeney having a somewhat tender knee, nothing to report here, This is also one of our best spots. The injury curse tried to infect Dwight Freeney, but Dwight Freeney instead ______________ (insert comically appropriate action here).
Linebackers: Philip Wheeler, Gary Brackett, Clint Session (Freddy Keiaho, Ramon Humber, Cody Glenn), Tyjuan Hagler- ruptured biceps (ouch), out of the year, Our starters are still great. Brackett and Session are beasts, and Wheeler should do fine as long as he's not a reincarnation of Gilbert Gardner. Our depth here is basically gone. Keiaho can fill in for Brackett, and did OK when he filled in earlier this year, but I have absolutely no confidence in the other 2 backups. We absolutely cannot take any more injuries here or we are in serious trouble.
Defensive Backs: Jerraud Powers, Jacob Lacey, Melvin Bullitt, Antoine Bethea (Tim Jennings, T.J. Rushing, Aaron Fransisco, Jamie Silva), Bob Sanders- torn biceps (ouch again), out for the year. Marlin Jackson- torn ACL, out for the year. Kelvin Hayden, knee injury, out for around 4 weeks, It speaks to our early depth that we can lose 3 starting caliber DB's and still have an excellent starting backfield, which we have with Powers, Lacey, Bullitt, and Bethea. Powers, Bullitt, and Bethea have earned my complete trust with their play (Bethea is having a Pro-Bowl year right now), but I'm still a little apprehensive about Lacey. I want to see a couple more games from him to establish some consistency. But now, say good-bye to our secondary depth as it is 100% gone (3:45 mark). We have Jennings and Rushing as semi-adequate backup. If we get one more injury back there, our pass D could be toast. For now though, we once again have good starters, and they need to hold on until Hayden comes back in a month. Until then, nail a horseshoe above your door and grab a rabbit's foot stuffed with 4-leaf clovers. The Colts need all the luck we can get.
Overall injury analysis: For now, we should be fine. Only a couple of our actual starters are down for the count, and they have been replaced by great depth hand-selected by Polian. Also, two of our most important players in Gonzalez and Hayden will most likely be back within a month. However, our depth in wide receiver and any defensive position not on the defensive line is completely shot. We pretty much literally have no one left to "step up" if someone else gets injured. So, now is not the time to panic as we should not see much change in our offense's or defense's performance in the coming weeks. However, you are allowed to panic if we do suffer another injury in the hard-hit places. I'll be panicking along with you. For now, grab the nearest leprechaun and hope that the Colts are not put in this scenario.