The Colts are routinely one of the most injured teams in the NFL year after year, and no one has been able to find out a reason why. The Colts have spent plenty of time and effort trying to figure out ways to get and stay healthier, but it hasn’t worked.
Because of that, comments like the ones that Chiefs players made after the game on Sunday are worth paying attention to: a couple of Chiefs players said that the surface at Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the hardest in the NFL.
“If you hit that ground, sometimes if you hit the ground and your head hits the grass, maybe it gives,” linebacker Tamba Hali said of a normal playing surface, according to the Kansas City Star’s Terez Paylor. “This one [at Lucas Oil Stadium], you're hitting concrete. So every time your head hits concrete, you're sure to probably get a little bit of concussion.”
All-Pro safety Eric Berry had similar thoughts. “It’s a fast surface, it’s a thin surface,” he said. “It’s not the thick turf that you’re probably used to seeing.”
Coach Andy Reid didn’t echo those sentiments after the game on Sunday, but some of the players actually on the field shared those thoughts. And the Chiefs have certainly had their fair share of injuries in their last two games at Lucas Oil Stadium: a couple of years ago they suffered some injuries, including to running back Jamaal Charles, and then yesterday they suffered some additional injuries, including to quarterback Alex Smith. According to Paylor, the Chiefs lost five players in that 2013 Wild Card game (including three to concussions) and lost three players yesterday (including two to concussions).
So is there a correlation between the surface at Lucas Oil Stadium and injuries? Maybe. It’s a fact that the Chiefs have suffered a lot of injuries there in their last two games, and it’s a fact that the Colts deal with a lot of injuries too. But is is because of the surface? That’s impossible to say for sure, at least not without much further in-depth study. But for a team desperate to figure out ways to limit their injuries, the Colts shouldn’t just brush these comments aside.