As the Indianapolis Colts prepare for their critical Week 14 meeting with the Las Vegas Raiders, the stakes could not be any higher for Frank Reich’s 8-4 squad. The Raiders sit at 7-5, and both teams face very real post season implications with the end result of this matchup.
Three Colts were listed as questionable coming into this one (Tyquan Lewis, Anthony Castonzo, and Bobby Okereke), with the only player ruled out being Rigoberto Sanchez. The Colts have dealt with critical players being out for the past few weeks now, but none are more important to the success of the team than Castonzo.
His knee injury in Week 12 forced the Colts to use Le’Raven Clark at left tackle, but after his season-ending injury early in the Week 13 matchup against the Houston Texans, the Colts are scrambling to find a suitable replacement with emergency plans being made for the remainder of the season. Castonzo being listed as questionable seems to be a minor miracle within itself only two weeks removed from his injury.
Additionally, something notable is that DeForest Buckner was a non-participant Friday with a hip issue, and there hasn’t really been much talk about how serious that situation might be up to this point. Philip Rivers appears to be good to go with his toe injury that he’ll likely be on the injury report for the remainder of the year for, however, Kemoko Turay was also a non-participant Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday as he’s dealing with ongoing ankle issues that ended his season last year.
Turay hasn’t been getting a hefty workload in his first three games back in action, and those complications could be the reason for his light load thus far. Braden Smith and Anthony Walker were both full participants Thursday and Friday after being limited with respective groin and rib issues on Wednesday.
By and large the Colts are reasonably healthy for Week 14 action, and the team really can’t afford any more injury issues given their position in a very tight AFC Wild Card race with only four games to play.
As the teams officially announce their inactives for the game, some great news is on the wire. Castonzo, Lewis, and Okereke will all suit up for the Colts. This is fantastic, as mentioned above, that Castonzo was even considered to be questionable as well as the fact that Okereke was inactive the past couple weeks that he’ll be active for a defense that has sorely missed his presence in coverage.
The Colts running game and pass protection should greatly be improved as a result of Castonzo’s return.
Here are the Week 14 inactives for the Raiders: