We are into the normal schedule leading up to a regular season game, and one thing that is pretty typical during a typical week in the NFL regular season is that if you aren’t practicing by Wednesday, you generally aren’t playing. That is what makes today’s update more than a little disconcerting.
When updating the media on a couple of key injuries today prior to practice, head coach Frank Reich indicated that Anthony Castonzo would not practice, however he was seen fully dressed and looks to be at least a limited participant. Castonzo has been out nearly all of training camp, and a good bit of the offseason prior to that with a hamstring injury.
The Colts have taken a cautious approach to his return, hoping to get him back fully healthy rather than rushing him back just to reinjure himself and extend his absence. However, Reich had spoken about how optimistic he was that Castonzo could be back in time for week one. It remains to be seen if he will be ready to go on Sunday.
Reich did not say definitively whether Castonzo would or would not play, but has indicated that he thinks Castonzo could play even with limited practice time.
“It’s definitely a barrier, but not a barrier that cannot be overcome, especially with a guy like Castonzo.”
He also indicated that there was a plan in place should Castonzo not be able to play. His presence on the practice field is certainly an encouragement, but it is far from a guarantee that he is ready to go.
Marlon Mack is less certain. He has been sidelined since his hamstring injury in week one of the preseason, and is not practicing today. Reich’s statements about Mack have sort of led us to believe he might miss week one, so this is not altogether surprising, but it definitely ratchets up the pressure on the rookie running backs to perform, given Robert Turbin’s suspension.
Reich also did not officially rule Mack out of the game, but did not sound nearly as confident about his ability to get there, saying:
“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk that he’s ready.”
Reich also created some confusion when he said that Darius Leonard would miss practice with a lower leg injury which he sustained in week three of the preseason. He has described the injury as day-to-day, and corrected his initial statement about Leonard missing practice to say that he would be limited. This bodes much better for Leonard, and for his part, he has been confident in his ability to be ready to go on Sunday.
All three of these men are significant for the Colts, with Castonzo especially being a determining factor in the capability of this offensive line, which will be tested in a major way against the Bengals’ dangerous pass rush. The Colts must hope he can get up to speed in time to play, because the line desperately needs him.