Though we have yet to receive any sort of official update from the Colts regarding the status of injured defensive tackle Arthur Jones, all of the early indications are that it's not good. From Jones leaving the stadium in a walking boot on Saturday to ESPN's Josina Anderson reporting that Jones was seeing a specialist to Chuck Pagano saying that Jones is seeking a second opinion, it has become increasingly likely that Jones will miss significant time this year.
Immediately, many fans thought that Jones might be a candidate for the injured reserve list with the designation to return, and according to the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder, the team is indeed considering that option. Holder notes that it is one of the options being considered by the team but that they won't be able to decide fully until they know Jones' status.
The Colts utilized this list last year with offensive tackle Xavier Nixon, as it is an option for a team to stash a player who will return at some point in the season but won't be ready for several weeks. Each team can designate one such player each year, and they are essentially treated just like any other player on injured reserve - only they are allowed to be taken off of the list in mid-season. If a player has a "major injury" (out at least six weeks), the team can place them on the IR with the designation to return (it must be designated at the time they place him on the list) and the player will then miss the first half of the season. After six weeks they can return to practice, and then after eight weeks they can return to the playing field. So, if the Colts were to place Arthur Jones on injured reserve with the designation to return this weekend, Jones would be able to return to practice after week six and then be eligible to return to the playing field after week eight.
It would obviously be a big blow to the defense, but it might be the best route for the team to take. If it is indeed another high ankle sprain for Jones (which has been speculated by some), it would likely mean he will miss some time. After suffering a high ankle sprain last season, Jones missed the next five games and seven of the next eight total, later acknowledging that it was an issue that plagued him for most of the season - even after he was back on the field. Placing Jones on the list would not only free up a roster spot for the Colts but would also prevent Jones from trying to rush back too early and hopefully get him fully healthy for his return.
Of course, we'll just have to wait and see what the official diagnosis is, as the Colts haven't said and neither has Jones. But the very fact that he's seeking second opinions and the opinions of specialists is not a good sign, and it seems that IR with a designation to return might end up being the best option for the Colts as they consider what to do.