This isn't a fun article to write, but it's something that has to be addressed: did the Indianapolis Colts break an NFL rule by not disclosing the information that head coach Chuck Pagano alluded to last night and confirmed today - that wide receiver Reggie Wayne has been playing through a torn triceps for the last five games.
Wayne suffered an elbow injury in week seven against the Bengals, missed one game, and then returned, having played the last five games since. It has been clear that he has struggled as a result of it, but now those struggles are explained by the injury. Regardless of your thoughts on Reggie's play recently, he's one tough dude to be playing through an injury that is normally a season-ender.
But this also begs another question: did the Colts violate NFL injury report rules in the process? In week eight, the Colts listed Reggie on the injury report for his elbow. In week nine, they did the same, though Reggie would play that weekend. Then came the Colts' bye week, and after the bye the Colts returned to listing Reggie on the injury report purely for rest - something they were doing long before his injury, as he gets a veteran's rest day every Wednesday. Does that check out?
The NFL's injury report policy says that, "All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game."
Wouldn't that seem to be the case of Reggie Wayne? I mean, I think most people are going to consider a torn triceps to be a significant and noteworthy injury. Even when it was sure that Wayne would play and even when he took all of the reps in practice, the team is still required to list him on the injury report. Now, of course all players are hurting at this time of year, which is where the "significant or noteworthy" part comes in to play. This leaves a lot up to interpretation to the teams, however, but I don't think the league would see a torn triceps under that category. Currently, the NFL is investigating the Cowboys for a similar situation regarding quarterback Tony Romo, and while there is nothing official yet I would assume the NFL will investigate the Colts as well. If the league finds that the team was in violation of the injury report policy, there would be a fine levied against the team.
Of course, this bit of discussion falls behind the fact that Reggie is indeed playing through the injury, but it's something to at least note and keep an eye on as we move forward. I'm not in a position to say whether or not the team actually violated the policy, but it's something that I assume will at least warrant a looking into from the league.