According to numerous (and I mean quite a few) different media reports, Colts offensive lineman Donald Thomas suffered a torn quad in yesterday's practice, re-tearing the same one that he tore last season. The injury will put him out for the entire 2014 season, the second such injury for the Colts (season-ending) to a key player in the first six days of practice - as running back Vick Ballard tore his Achilles last week in practice.
Here's what I wrote yesterday about how the injury occurred and how Thomas reacted:
"For Donald Thomas, however, the concern is much greater. Nobody was really watching the line, as the pass already was in the end zone, but all of the sudden a guy let out a loud scream and immediately I looked and it was Thomas, laying on the ground injured. The trainers sprinted over to see him, and he quickly got up and limped badly to the side of the field, where he tried to walk it out. After a while of doing that, he headed to the locker room, walking gingerly all the way. The first real indication that it might be serious was Thomas's reaction. His scream when it happened was bad, and then everything from his words (which we can't repeat here...) to his actions (holding his head in frustration) signified that he knew it wasn't good."
The Colts were just in shoulder pads and helmets yesterday, meaning there wasn't much hitting. Sure, the two lines engage and block lightly, but nothing that would lead to injury - at least you'd think. But on a routine run play with limited contact, Thomas went down, and my initial feeling was "confirmed" by multiple reports this morning - the injury was serious, and it's a re-torn quad.
Thomas missed most of last year with a torn quad as well, that he suffered early in the week two game against the Dolphins. On that same drive, Thomas also suffered a torn biceps, but it was the quad injury that really put him out for a while, and in fact he missed all offseason work trying to recover. It was a bit of a surprise to many when he was even cleared to start training camp, but he looked fine to start and the Colts were taking it easy. Like Ballard, this one was just a freak injury, and the Colts just can't seem to stay healthy (I'll have a more detailed look at this coming later this morning).
Suddenly, the drafting of Jack Mewhort becomes a huge move. I criticized the move, and you probably did too. As I said at draft time, I liked the player but the value of the pick wasn't great. But we've now seen why I don't like to judge a player until after his third year - because we just don't know what will happen. Jack Mewhort is now the starting left guard for the Colts - unless someone wins that job from him, but I don't see that happening.
For the second straight year, the Colts will start a rookie in place of Donald Thomas at left guard. Last year, it was Hugh Thornton, who was bad. This year, it will be Jack Mewhort, who should be better than Thornton was last year, but who will still have those rookie struggles, I'm sure. Either way, the drafting of Mewhort turns out to be a huge one, since the Colts didn't really address the guard (or line at all) in free agency.
On another note, I wonder if this will have repercussions at the center position too in terms of the roster, as I was very confident that the Colts backup plan at center was Donald Thomas. Much like last year when Samson Satele would get hurt and Mike McGlynn would shift over to center, I think that was the plan again this year, only with Khaled Holmes and Donald Thomas. Thomas worked some at center in camp, including with the second team yesterday. Will the Colts now have to keep an extra center on the roster as a backup, and as a result does that mean they'll keep 10 linemen? Those are questions that need to be answered, but I think Jonotthan Harrison's chances at making the roster have gone up quite a bit with the injury to Thomas, too.
Thomas was a very good run blocker. Now, Thomas is gone. With Trent Richardson's struggles, the injury might really affect the running back too. The bottom line is that I feel terrible for Thomas.