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Colts rookie cornerback D'Joun Smith returns to practice

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Colts rookie cornerback D'Joun Smith, who is on injured reserve with the designation to return, returned to practice on Friday. He will be eligible to play in week eleven against the Falcons.

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The Colts are healthy at cornerback for what seems like the first time all season, as for several weeks they were dealing with multiple injuries at the spot every single week.  That's why it's good news that they are healthy now, but they could be getting even healthier in the coming weeks.

Rookie corner D'Joun Smith injured his knee earlier this year and hasn't played yet, as he was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return on the Friday before the Colts' week two game against the Jets.  As spelled out by the IR-DFR rules, Smith could return to practice after six weeks and return to the playing field after eight weeks.  Yesterday marked 42 days exactly since he was placed on injured reserve, meaning that it was the first day he was eligible to return to the practice field.  The Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder reported that Smith was indeed back on the field on Friday, signifying that he is healthy or at least close to being healthy.

He won't be able to play for two more weeks, however, meaning he'll still miss the games against the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.  Then, because of the team's bye week coming after the Broncos game, Smith will have another week to get acclimated before being eligible to return for the Colts' eleven game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 22.  Because he was back on the field on Friday at the earliest date possible, that would seem to very strongly suggest that he'll be ready to go when the Falcons game rolls around.

Head coach Chuck Pagano recently said that Smith was "ahead of schedule" in his recovery from the knee injury, adding that Smith has stayed involved despite not being able to play or practice.  Hopefully that time learning can help him get up to speed faster than he otherwise might have.  The Colts' third round pick out of Florida Atlantic in this year's draft, the Colts like Smith a lot, but by the time he's eligible to play, he'll have missed the first nine games of his career due to the injury.  He struggled in training camp and preseason, but he's a guy with potential and talent trying to adjust to the NFL level.  He should be fine, but it can't help that he has been delayed in getting on the field for a meaningful game.

For the time being, however, the Colts will go with Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler, Josh Thomas, and Tony Carter at their cornerback position - a solid group, when healthy.  Without a doubt, though, the Colts will be anxious to get their third round pick back on the field as soon as possible, which seems likely to be in week eleven against the Falcons.