It’s finally an actual game week for the Indianapolis Colts, as they have their roster cut down to 53 players and are preparing to face the Detroit Lions this Sunday in the regular season opener. The Colts won’t be at full strength for that game, but that doesn’t mean all of the injury news is bad.
Head coach Chuck Pagano today said that defensive lineman Henry Anderson probably won’t play on Sunday, but the outlook was more positive on defensive lineman Kendall Langford. Pagano said that he’d be “shocked” if Langford doesn’t play this weekend.
“Probably Henry won’t be there,” Pagano said. “But we got him back at practice which is great, and he’s taking a good amount of reps with our defense a little bit, and we’re being overly cautious with him and taking our time. But Kendall’s out there working out. He should be back Wednesday on a limited basis; we’ll ease him back in. And I would be shocked if he doesn't play. I mean, he’s an iron man. There’s not a defensive lineman in the league right now that’s started more games [in a row] than Kendall Langford, I think he’s 100-plus games in, whatever it is. It’s a lot. So he’s a tough, tough guy, and if I was betting on anybody, I’d bet on him.”
Langford has been out for several weeks after tweaking his knee in training camp and having it scoped, and the original timeline for his return was right around week one. It has been unclear whether Langford would miss the game, but Pagano has always seemed optimistic. Langford has played in 128 consecutive games to begin his career, as Pagano alluded to, so he’s certainly proved his toughness in his career so far. It would be huge for the defense to be able to get him back in time for week one, especially since Anderson is unlikely to go. Even if Langford is back, however, he very likely wouldn’t be at 100% and wouldn’t be a full participant, so the Colts will need to rely on their depth guys no matter what.
As for some of the other injured players, Pagano wouldn’t rule starting left guard Jack Mewhort out for Sunday’s game, though it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to play. Furthermore, the hope is that offensive lineman Joe Haeg should be back at practice on Wednesday or Thursday, which would certainly be a good sign. It’s unclear whether he will be available to play this Sunday or if he would have a shot at making the starting lineup if he was ready, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. The hope is also that cornerback Darius Butler might be back on Wednesday, but Pagano seemed unsure of where Butler is in his recovery process. Safety Clayton Geathers is progressing well and should be back sooner rather than later, according to Pagano, but it’s still unclear exactly when that return will be.