For the second straight week, the Indianapolis Colts have placed a former starting offensive lineman on season-ending injured reserve after the player was dealing with injuries. Last week, it was right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who's injury-plagued season ended due to a groin injury the lineman was battling. This week, the Colts announced that they have placed right guard Hugh Thornton on IR, ending his injury-plagued season, as he has been dealing with a shoulder injury recently. To fill his roster spot, the Colts signed running back Michael Hill to the active roster.
This ends a disappointing season for Thornton, as he played in just ten games, starting eight of them. He dealt with a number of injuries, the most recent of which was his shoulder injury that has led to him being placed on IR. Head coach Chuck Pagano described him yesterday as "week-to-week," and with only a few weeks remaining in the season at most, it's not a huge surprise to see the Colts make this move. It's the end of a very rough season for the second-year player, however, as he dealt with injuries, team discipline (for which he was benched for a game), and poor play. When he returned from injury in week seventeen (only to be injured again in that game), he didn't start. Whether or not that was just because of his injury or a representation of what the Colts thought of his play is unclear, but it was probably a bit of both. It's no secret whatsoever that Thornton really struggled this season (even when healthy), and I think it's perfectly fair to question his future with the Colts. He'll likely be back, but I don't think he'll be assured of the starting right guard spot next year.
In Thornton's absence, we really won't see a lot different than in recent weeks. And that's because Lance Louis has started the last four games at the right guard spot anyway, and in seven games on the season as a whole. Louis has been playing better since assuming that starting spot, and so he will just continue to play there with Thornton on IR.
As for Michael Hill, here's what the Colts' press release says of him:
Hill, 5-10, 210 pounds, re-joins the Colts after spending time on the team's practice squad in November 2014. He was then signed to the Washington Redskins practice squad on December 9. Hill was originally signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent on April 27, 2013 and also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers before joining the Colts. As a rookie in 2013, he played in eight games and rushed for 23 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for 23 yards. He also returned one kickoff for 19 yards. Hill finished his collegiate career at Missouri Western State as the school's all-time leader in rushing yards (4,969), all-purpose yards (5,851), rushing attempts (928) and 100-yard rushing games (20). As a senior in 2012, he led the nation (Division II) with a school-record 2,168 yards on 311 carries (7.0 avg.). Hill finished as the runner-up for the Harlon Hill Award, given to the nation's top player in Division II.