Last season, Colts defensive tackle suffered a high ankle sprain in the second regular season game that put him out for seven of the next eight games, and even when he returned he was never fully healthy. In essence, it was a lost season for the big free agent signing last offseason.
Entering the 2015 season, Jones is one of the most important players for the Colts. We ranked him at number four on our countdown of players the team can't afford to lose, as they need him healthy this year to improve against the run. But now we're holding our breath as the Colts and Jones seek to discover the severity of an ankle injury suffered early in the third preseason game on Saturday night. He limped off the field after getting looked at by trainers and then had his ankle wrapped, but he was seen leaving the stadium in a walking boot last night.
Now, it's the waiting game for the Colts. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Jones' x-ray was negative but that the Colts were hoping to find out the MRI results today to determine the severity of the strain. ESPN's Josina Anderson later reported that Jones will see a foot and ankle specialist - which typically isn't a good sign.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Source: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash">#Colts</a> DT Art Jones is now on his way to see a foot & ankle specialist following his MRI exam today.</p>— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) <a href="https://twitter.com/JosinaAnderson/status/638063326757564418">August 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
WTHR's Bob Kravitz said that he's "hearing whispers" that it's another high ankle sprain for Jones - which, obviously, would put him out for a significant period of time. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora said that he "would be surprised if Art Jones doesn't miss a decent chunk of time" and that the Colts should know more mid-week. In other words, the initial reports aren't sounding too promising. The fact that Jones is seeing a specialist confirms that there may be reason for concern.
"I'm waiting for information from our docs," head coach Chuck Pagano said today (per FOX59's Mike Chappell), declining to go into specifics on Jones quite yet. "He's still being evaluated. You're always hopeful you're going to have him. We're just keeping our fingers crossed. I don't have any idea of the reports (the media is) talking about. All I listen to is the doctors and my trainers down the hall, and they're still gathering information.''
The Colts are still holding out hope that Jones won't miss much time, and it's clear that Jones is one of the most crucial players to the team in 2015. Pagano admitted as much. "One of your key cogs,'' he said. "Got to have him out there."
After watching the run defense struggle repeatedly over the past few years when the games matter, Colts fans are certainly in agreement about that fact: having a healthy Art Jones is crucial. He was signed last year to improve the run game, but he hasn't really been healthy to show that yet. Now, he's dealing with another injury, and it's seeming possible that Jones will be out for an extended period of time, which would be the first huge injury blow to the team this year.