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Colts expecting safety Malik Hooker to make preseason debut Saturday against 49ers

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts finally got safety Clayton Geathers back in action last night against the Baltimore Ravens after having a knee procedure this offseason. Now it looks as though their other starting safety, Malik Hooker will be making his 2018 debut Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers provided there aren’t any setback between now and then.

Hooker is such a crucial part of this defense which needs a dose of talent in the secondary to help the transition to the new scheme. Hooker hauled in 3 interceptions and 4 passes defensed last season in just 7 games, and went down in Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars destroying his knee.

Hooker totaled 21 tackles last season and showed much more physicality than he was given credit for in the pre-draft process.

Hooker, if he does return Saturday night, would do so almost exactly 10 months after that hit along the sideline and would be somewhat remarkable to do so inside of a year from having surgery.

Hooker has been slowly coming back over the past week or so in practice, starting on the open field at training camp with light workouts, moving on to individual drills, and now may just make a full return to game action in just four more days.

The implementation has been a mixed bag in the secondary for the Colts, but Matthias Farley has been a big help in assisting with having a physical presence at the third level of the defense.

Now, if the Colts were to have Hooker and Geathers back and at full strength with Farley rotating in, the defense instantly gets better and allows for the cornerbacks to have a legit eraser over the top to help them out.

The Colts have a few defensive positions that still need to improve quite a bit, but with Hooker’s return that would be one that is theoretically as good as the team is going to get this season — and hopefully better than they’ve been in quite awhile.