The Indianapolis Colts returned to the practice field on Wednesday to start preparing for the Houston Texans. As in previous weeks, the team had numerous players who were unable to practice for a variety of reasons.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
As has been previously reported, Andrew Luck spent the early part of this week seeking numerous opinions on his sore shoulder. It has been reported that the specialists he visited did not agree as to the reason he is still experiencing pain in his throwing shoulder. Fans are still left with uncertainty and no legitimate expectation for when Luck will return — and a fading hope that he will play at all in 2017.
Starting outside linebacker John Simon sat out again with a stinger. He suffered the injury early against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which was a crushing blow after he had his best game of the season against the Tennessee Titans. He was initially described as week-to-week and will likely not return against the Texans unless he returns to practice in some capacity tomorrow.
The two biggest additions to the injury report this week are starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee) and future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri (back).
If Castonzo is forced to miss the Texans game I fear a couple of things will happen. The first is that Colts fans might be forced to realize just how much better Castonzo is than they think and the second is that that Brissett might not survive the game. The hope here is that he is essentially resting due to some soreness in his knee that is due more to bruising than ligament or joint related issues.
If Vinatieri is forced to miss the game it would be a huge blow. First, this offense isn’t exactly known for scoring touchdowns. Second, it would likely force the Colts to risk a roster spot adding another kicker or to have another player handle the holding responsibilities for Rigoberto Sanchez — who would be asked to handle all kicking responsibilities. While I don’t have a lack of confidence in Sanchez as a placekicker, this is an awful position to lose a roster spot — even if only for a week or two.
Another player missing time is rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson. With Melvin sitting out in the concussion protocol and Hooker lost for the season, last week might have been Wilson’s best opportunity to get a starting nod. Instead, Wilson’s knee “didn’t feel right” on Saturday or Sunday and so he was shut down. He can use as much practice exposure as he can if he wants to get out of the doghouse with this coaching staff.
The only other players missing practice today were tackle Le’Raven Clark and corner Vontae Davis. Davis has started to establish a habit of taking a rest day on Wednesday and should not create a cause for concern. Clark is not practicing because the young man lost his father on Sunday. He has been with his family for much of the week and will return to practice tomorrow. Following practice he will return to Texas for his father’s funeral. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clark and his family.
Rashaan Melvin returned to practice on a limited basis today in a red non-contact jersey. He still has not cleared the concussion protocol so all the team can hope is that he can continue to pick up his activity level without experiencing any setbacks or concussion-like symptoms.
Jabaal Sheard was limited in practice with a quad injury. No specifics were shared about the seriousness of the injury but veteran starters practicing on a limited basis early in the week is fairly standard. We will have to monitor his status as the week continues.
Matt Jones rounds out those limited in practice this week with an ankle injury. While Jones doesn’t necessarily have a big impact on the Colts offensive plans for Houston, the team brought him on as a veteran running presence to provide depth behind Gore and Mack. He need to stay healthy if he wants to have a chance to revitalize his career.
Some key players on offense and defense are finally nearing a return to the football field. Safety Clayton Geathers is practicing fully this week, taking his first live practice reps since his injury last year. This is a significant step in his recovery and represents a strong likelihood that, barring any setback, he will return to the field this year.
While full practice all week typically means that a player will play in the upcoming game, coach Pagano confirmed that the team still plans to add Geathers to the active roster following the Week 11 bye. This will give him three or four weeks of full speed practice to get back into football shape, along with an opportunity to test out his neck.
On the offensive side of the football, Denzelle Good returned to the practice field last week. This week, he’s a full practice participant and is currently targeting the Steelers game Week 10 for his return. If he returns to right tackle, it will result in more shuffling on the offensive line, likely pushing Haeg back inside to right guard.
Finally, tight end Erik Swoope took the practice field with trainers today. He is not participating with the team yet but he intends to return to practice soon. The deadline to remove him from injured reserve is approaching so his progress over the next week will be important. Hopefully he can return to the field and start taking meaningful reps alongside Jack Doyle, which could be a nice boost for a struggling Colts offense.