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Here’s why T.Y. Hilton, Vontae Davis, and Robert Mathis didn’t play Saturday night

NFL: Preseason-Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts’ starters played the first quarter on Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens and did a good job overall, but they weren’t quite at full strength. Though Andrew Luck made his return and Frank Gore even played a few snaps, starters T.Y. Hilton, Vontae Davis, and Robert Mathis were all held out.

Why? The simple answer is that it’s simply preseason, so there’s no reason to rush those players back. But at the same time, last week head coach Chuck Pagano said that Hilton was fine and then on Thursday Pagano said that Mathis would play. So why the change?

After the game, Pagano said that Hilton suffered a hamstring injury in last week’s game and “pushed through it all last week. Even going back to the catch on the sideline where he overextended in the Buffalo game and [then] came back and he practiced all week. It was just a little bit tender so it wasn’t worth throwing him out there, he is fine.”

That’s not quite the same thing Pagano said last week after the game when asked whether Hilton was hurt, as then Pagano just said that Hilton was fine. At least he hasn’t changed his tune and still says that Hilton is fine, but we now know that the team’s receiver is nursing a minor hamstring injury too. It’s nothing to worry about, but it’s worth keeping him out in the preseason.

As for Vontae Davis, he rolled an ankle in practice on Thursday and it started to swell up a little bit, so the Colts again wanted to be cautious and hold their top cornerback out of a meaningless preseason game.

Mathis “wants to roll but I’m just not going to put him out there,” Pagano said. That’s not at all what he said on Thursday, however, as he said that Mathis would play “unless he comes in barring anything crazy. We want to get him out there.” On Thursday he did acknowledge that Mathis was sore this week, so it could again be simply an issue of precaution.

None of the injuries seem to be serious whatsoever, which is a very good thing for the Colts. What’s better is that they aren’t forcing players back too early in the preseason and are instead giving them a shot to get completely healthy as they enter the regular season.

There were a few injuries worth noting from the game as well. Offensive lineman Joe Haeg left with an ankle injury and tackle Kevin Graf went out with an ankle injury, and the Colts will know more about their conditions today. The team waived-injured Graf, which is an indication that the injury was pretty serious. Additionally, safety Stefan McClure suffered a hamstring injury and cornerback Patrick Robinson went out with a groin injury.