When Donald Thomas signed a contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, he was expected to be their starting left guard. That lasted just two games, as he tore his quad early in the second game of the 2013 season and was lost for the year. He again entered training camp in 2014 looking to compete for a starting spot, but he re-tore the quad in camp and was again lost for the season. "It was rough. It was rough," Thomas told media on Wednesday. "It was probably one of the lowest points in my life actually. It was tough to be on the outside looking in, so to speak."
Because of that, there aren't very many high expectations for Donald Thomas in 2015. After back-to-back season-ending injuries, the Colts and fans are in a wait and see mode on the talented lineman. But Thomas is determined to get back on the field, compete, and prove himself.
"Each day I get better, I feel better," Thomas said. "I just want to get back 100 percent and just be able to compete again. Right now, honestly, my main thing is right now (is) I really don't think about the future. I just take it day-by-day. If I can just control everything that I can control each day with my rehab, doing whatever they ask me to do and making sure I make the gains that I'm supposed to make. The future will take care of itself."
Thomas said that, while it's tough to hold back from the competition as he rehabs, "I've got to think about myself and make sure that I'm 100 percent before I can worry about getting into a mix. I can't get into the mix with those guys if I'm not 100 percent. My main thing is just getting healthy, and then once I'm healthy, I can get back in there."
But while he's not yet ready to return and enter that competition, he's hoping to be ready soon. Hopefully, he added, by the time training camp rolls around, though that's no guarantee. Asked whether camp is a realistic return date, Thomas said, "It is," but then seemed to backtrack a bit. "I think so. I don't know right now. I mean, I can't tell you, ‘Yeah, I'll be out there day one.' I can't tell you, ‘I'll be out there day five or seven.' Right now I know I'm here today. I got my work in today. It feels good. I know it's not ready yet. That's all I can tell you."
What Thomas does know, however, is that he's anxious to get back. And when he does get back, he'll be looking to enter the competition along the offensive line. The Colts have a solid group of projected starters and then a solid group of backups so it won't be an easy competition for a guy coming off of back-to-back injuries. But for a player who general manager Ryan Grigson said is as strong as anybody in the locker room, we can't rule him out just yet. It's an uphill climb for Donald Thomas, but he's looking forward to getting back on the field in training camp and competing to try to earn a spot.