There can be no doubt that this is not what Ryan Kelly had envisioned for his second season in the NFL. He suffered a broken bone in his foot during training camp that required surgery and cost him the first four games of the regular season. A hamstring injury forced him to miss practice in the middle of the season and threatened his chances to play in another game. Most recently, Kelly suffered a concussion against the Tennessee Titans that has held him out for two more.
The Colts are confident that he will be cleared by an independent neurologist and will be able to return to the field for Thursday Night Football (although they were confident last week as well) but missing more than six games this season certainly wasn’t a part of the plan. Coming into the season there weren’t a ton of certainties for a team that was rebuilding but there can be no doubt that the most certain part of the offensive line was an expected season-long effort from the Colts first round center.
We will monitor his status tomorrow to see if he receives clearance to take the field against one of the NFL’s best defenses.
In what would be fairly described as a surprise performance for the Colts secondary this season, Rashaan Melvin has used every game as an opportunity to cement his status as one of the better cover corners in the NFL. With so much change at other positions in the secondary, Melvin’s consistent play has been important. He has picked up all three interceptions of his career this year and in what has become a morbid expectation for Colts fans this season (and almost every season), Melvin broke a bone in his hand while making his most recent interception against the Titans.
The likelihood that he will be able to pick off passes down the stretch has gone down considerably now that he will have to play with a club on one of his hands. This isn’t an entirely unfamiliar sight for fans in Indianapolis who have watched Jon Bostic and Darius Butler both play with a cast of their hands in the last couple of seasons.
One surprise addition to the injury report is Nate Hairston with a concussion. This is a surprise because yesterday’s practice wouldn’t have included a full contact portion. Whether he just started to have concussion-like symptoms or something else happened is somewhat unclear at this point. Getting onto the injury report for a concussion two days before a game is not a great sign. We will monitor his status tomorrow and assume that he will also need to pass a test by an independent neurologist in order to be cleared for Thursday.
Both Jacoby Brissett and Hassan Ridgeway were full participants in practice for a second straight day. Barring a surprise downgrade tomorrow, both are likely to take the field against the Broncos. At this point, one has to imagine that it would take a season-ending injury or concussion to hold out Brissett. It is good for Ridgeway to return as he and Grover Stewart are young pieces on a defensive line that you can bet Chris Ballard will not hesitate to bolster even more for 2018.
Rookie tight end Darrell Daniels was limited for a second straight day with a hamstring injury. He is another player who has to be chomping at the bit to return to the field given the opportunity presented by Erik Swoope failing to return to the field this year. Jack Doyle and Swoope may be the only two that are projected to make the roster at tight end in 2018. There will be quite a crowd for the third spot next summer.
Rounding out the injury report is that Frank Gore and Donte Moncrief did not practice today. Gore had his veteran’s rest day and is all but a lock to start again on Thursday. Moncrief has been given the “week-to-week” label, which likewise makes him a lock to not play this week.