The Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday returned to the practice field to prepare to face the New England Patriots in this Sunday's AFC Championship Game (Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET on CBS). There are a couple of injury updates to note from head coach Chuck Pagano today, however, as a couple notable players missed practice today.
Pagano said that cornerbacks Vontae Davis (knee) and Greg Toler (groin) both missed practice on Wednesday, and outside linebacker Erik Walden (knee) was limited. Inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson had his typical rest day on Wednesday, so he didn't practice either.
Obviously, the big concern from that injury update is with the two starting corners, who both have played tremendous football in the playoffs. In fact, this postseason Vontae Davis has become the franchise leader in passes defended in a single postseason with six, and Greg Toler is tied for second on that list with four. Davis' five passes defensed against the Broncos last week was tied for the third-highest single-game postseason total for any player since 1994. Losing either one of those corners for the AFC Championship game would be huge. The good news, however, is that Chuck Pagano doesn't expect either player to miss the game.
"I don't think so," Pagano said in response to the question of whether either injury is serious enough to put them out Sunday. "They both hopefully will be back on the practice field tomorrow."
That's the good news, and with Walden, he's been listed on the injury report for a number of weeks now with the knee injury but has always played, so it's likely just the same deal this week - he'll be limited in practice a bit for a day or two but will play in the game, as the injury is lingering but nothing that will keep him out or prevent him from playing well. It's likely the same thing this week too.
Pagano also spent time in Wednesday's press conference praising his cornerbacks - Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, and Darius Butler - who have all been very good for the Colts recently. When asked about Davis and the trade to acquire him a few years ago (the Colts gave up a second round pick to get Davis from the Dolphins), Pagano said that, "it's hard to find cover guys like Vontae and Greg Toler - big guys with length and who have got athleticism and speed. To do what we like to do defensively you've got to have guys like Vontae, because we ask a lot of those guys from a call standpoint and scheme standpoint. We put them in one-on-one situations a ton - it doesn't matter, really, what we call. Since he's been here, we've seen this kid grow and mature. He's really becoming a really good pro. His play on the field is really a byproduct of what he's doing off the field, from a study standpoint - film study, meetings, practice, all those things in preparation for games on Sunday."
That preparation and maturity from Davis has led to him being arguably the best cornerback in football during the 2014 season and it has led to him being one players the Colts desperately can't be without, especially in a big game against the Patriots. But though Davis and Greg Toler both missed practice on Wednesday, it sounds encouraging that they might return to the practice field on Thursday and be ready for Sunday's AFC Championship game.