With the Colts reporting to training camp today, many of the players speak to the media upon arrival. One such player was running back Vick Ballard, who offered up the significant information that he has passed his physical and should be ready to practice Thursday, the first day of practice for the Colts.
RB Vick Ballard (ACL) said he's been cleared and expects to be on the field for the first day of camp.— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) July 23, 2014
#colts RB Vick Ballard said he's been cleared for football activities. Expects team to limit his work early in camp— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) July 23, 2014
#colts RB Vick Ballard still remembers suffering knee injury in practice. 'Its like a car crash. You never forget'— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) July 23, 2014
Obviously, this is great news for both Ballard and for the Colts. Ballard tore his ACL in practice the week after the week one win over the Raiders, in which Ballard, the starting running back, ran for 63 yards on 13 carries (4.8 yards per carry). He worked hard at rehabbing, and he hopes that all the work he put in will improve his game all-around this year. While the hope was always that Ballard would be back and ready for the start of camp, that wasn't a given and even up until yesterday I still wasn't sure if he was going to be. So it's great news to start the day that Ballard has passed his physical and has been cleared to practice.
Of course, as Mike Chappell noted, Ballard expects he'll be limited early on, and that makes perfect sense. The same will probably happen with most of the injured guys coming back and it's really not anything about them not being fully ready or anything like that, it's more that the Colts want to take it slow - something they typically do with injuries and especially will do on the first few days of training camp.
The return of Ballard will be a big boost to the Colts offense. In his rookie season he started 12 games and carried the ball 211 times for 814 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns, as well as 17 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. He's not entering camp as the team's starting running back this year, however, as that responsibility lies with Trent Richardson, but Ballard (along with Ahmad Bradshaw) will provide terrific depth and will both see the field plenty this season as long as they stay healthy. And, if Richardson struggles (which we really have to hope doesn't happen but we do have to acknowledge it very well might), then Ballard is a guy who can (and has) stepped up and started, and played well. His return will open things up a bit for the Colts and should help out the offense.
Good news to kick off the day for the Colts, with the news that Vick Ballard has passed his physical and has been cleared.