The Indianapolis Colts are preparing to take on the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, and today we got an injury report from head coach Chuck Pagano as to who will play and who won't. Pagano said that defensive lineman Arthur Jones, outside linebacker Erik Walden, and linebacker Josh McNary are all OUT for the game. He did give some good news, however, saying that wide receiver Reggie Wayne and cornerback Vontae Davis will both play on Monday night. Pagano also gave an update on safety LaRon Landry and said that he will not play this week.
Reggie missed last week's game with an elbow injury but returned to practice this week and was a full participant on both Friday and Saturday. "Wayne looked good," Pagano said. "Caught the ball extremely well." Pagano had said earlier in the week that the receiver was ahead of schedule in his recovery and from the moment Reggie stepped on the practice field on Friday it was an encouraging sign that he would return this week, and indeed he will. The team's number two wide receiver will be out there on Monday night as they try to get back on the winning track.
Vontae Davis will also play this week, which was pretty much a given after he was a full participant all week in practice and after Pagano said that he looked good earlier in the week. Davis left last week's loss to the Steelers early in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn't return. He'll be out there on Monday night, however, and that's big for the Colts.
Arthur Jones had missed five games in a row with a high ankle sprain before returning last week, but he didn't look healthy out there against the Steelers. Chuck Pagano said today that Jones re-injured the ankle after he got rolled up on while facing a double team, and he won't play this week. Here's an interesting stat for you that surely isn't as telling as it may initially look: in the three games that Jones has played this year, the Colts are 0-3. In the five games that Jones has missed this year, the Colts are 5-0. Ricky Jean Francois will continue to start in his place, making it his seventh straight start - and RJF has been playing very good football this year, too.
Erik Walden was labeled as week-to-week by Chuck Pagano this week and that designation almost always means that the player will miss some time, so Walden being out was expected. Andy Studebaker will likely see significant playing time at the spot this week, as should rookie Jonathan Newsome. Josh McNary is a backup inside linebacker who can also play outside if need be, and he'll be out this Monday. His presence will mainly be missed on special teams, as he doesn't play many defensive snaps at all when the starting inside linebackers are healthy (which they are - D'Qwell Jackson missed practice on Thursday but is probable and will play).
Lastly, LaRon Landry will not play. He's coming off of a four-game suspension and the Colts have a week-long exemption to activate him. In other words, if they wanted him to play on Monday they would need to activate him to the 53-man roster by 4 p.m. on Monday. Since he won't play on Monday, the Colts will need to activate him by 4 p.m. on Tuesday or release him. Sergio Brown will start his fifth game in a row at safety - and he's been outplaying Landry this season as well, just like RJF has been outplaying Art Jones.
So technically the Colts will be without three "starters" in Jones, Landry, and Erik Walden on Monday, but the reality is that the Colts are used to playing without both Jones and Landry and both of their replacements have clearly outplayed them. The biggest loss will be Walden, which will surprise many - but Walden has been playing well this year and hasn't gotten enough credit for that. The Colts will miss him - but not so much Jones or Landry. And the good news is that they'll get both Reggie Wayne and Vontae Davis back this week. All in all, this week's injury report is positive.