As the Colts get ready for a crucial four-game stretch to close out the regular season and hopefully win the AFC South, they have a few injuries that are worth noting. Quarterback Andrew Luck and left tackle Anthony Castonzo have both missed multiple games with injuries and are still described as week to week, as is inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who missed Sunday's game against the Steelers.
The hope is that Luck will be able to return for the team's week 15 game against the Houston Texans on December 20, but if not the expectation is that he should definitely be ready for the following week's game. It's important that the team be at full strength - or as close to it as possible - for the game against Houston, one that could very well determine the division winner. The Colts hope that Luck will be back for that game, but it also sounds like they might get Anthony Castonzo back for that matchup as well.
Speaking with Jake Query and Derek Schultz on FOX Sports 975 in Indianapolis today, Castonzo said that he hasn't yet ruled out playing this week but that he should for sure be ready to go by next week.
Castonzo on his health: "I haven't ruled this week out. That's still a possibility. I know for sure I'll be back by next week."
— Derek Schultz (@Schultz975) December 8, 2015
While Castonzo hasn't ruled this week out, it sounds likely that he won't be able to play. Head coach Chuck Pagano still described him as week to week on Monday, which with the Colts means the player is still expected to miss some time and isn't yet ready to return. So, while it may still be a possibility, it does sound like it's a rather small one and isn't to be expected. It is very positive news to hear him say that he will for sure be back by next week, however, as it gives some sort of a timeframe on the injury and his return to the field.
Castonzo suffered an MCL sprain in the team's win over the Atlanta Falcons in week 11 and hasn't played since, missing the games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers. In his absence, the Colts have been forced to move starting right tackle Joe Reitz to left tackle and insert rookie Denzelle Good at right tackle. They have done an admirable job in filling in considering the circumstances, but the line isn't at full health and that has shown. Getting Castonzo back would allow Reitz to move back to right tackle and hopefully allow the unit to pick up where they left off, as they have actually been having a pretty solid year.
Of course, we need to understand that the player is always going to say he thinks he's ready to play or close to it, so just because Anthony Castonzo says it doesn't fully tell us how close he is to getting back, but assuming that he really is on track to return next week, that would be a big positive for the Colts heading into their game against Houston.