After suffering a foot injury during last Monday's loss to the Carolina Panthers, Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton did not practice at all this week, leaving his status for today's game against the Denver Broncos in serious doubt. Officially, he was listed as questionable, but it is very rare for a Colts player to play in a game after missing all of practice the week before. Head coach Chuck Pagano said on Friday that Hilton did some running on the treadmill with trainers on Friday and looked good, but that's a far cry from actually getting on the practice field.
Hilton will test it pregame and will be a true game-time decision, but he's still viewed as unlikely to play by many. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Hilton is a "longshot" to play today.
#Colts WR TY Hilton (sprained foot) will be a game-time decision, he wants to test his foot. But he’s considered a longshot to actually play— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 8, 2015
If the Colts truly are without Hilton today, it will make their attempt to knock off the undefeated Broncos even harder. Already with a new offensive coordinator on a short week against the NFL's best defense, playing without their number one wideout would add to that disadvantage even more. Furthermore, one of the guys who would likely have stepped in during Hilton's absence, rookie Phillip Dorsett, is working his way back from a fractured fibula. That would leave Donte Moncrief, Andre Johnson, Griff Whalen, and Quan Bray as the receivers for the Colts today if Hilton really doesn't play. That's a solid group of receivers, but it's nothing great - and against a dominating defense, the Colts could use all hands on deck.
At the same time, however, it might make sense for the Colts to rest Hilton if he's not healthy. Their bye week is next week, so it would give Hilton ample time to recover and get back to 100%. As hard as it is to think this way, consider what would help the Colts more: rush Hilton back for this game and then have their top wideout dealing with a lingering issue all year, or sit him for this game and have a fully healthy Hilton moving forward? Of course, we don't know whether playing Hilton today would be considered rushing him back or whether this could be an issue that lingers moving forward, but it's something that has to be considered by the Colts.
Despite struggling this year and not playing great (in part due to other injuries, as this is the third different injury that has landed him on the injury report this year), Hilton has still been a major factor in the offense. He leads the Colts in catches (38), yards (621), yards per catch (16.3), targets (82), 20+ yard receptions (9), yards after the catch (217), and receiving first downs (23), while also catching three touchdowns (tied for second on the team).