Center Ryan Kelly, who missed the team’s Week 14 game against the Houston Texans after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, is expected to be back on Tuesday, according to Zak Keefer, a writer for The Athletic.
Colts expect Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly to return from the COVID list tomorrow.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 13, 2021
It should be noted that Kelly still remains in the COVID-19 protocol, according to head coach Frank Reich.
With perhaps the toughest matchup Indy has seen all season awaiting them in the New England Patriots, having their Pro Bowl center back will be a major boost for the offensive line that struggled in a couple of series early on against the Texans.
Second-year center Danny Pinter did an excellent job filling in for Kelly, as he helped pave the way for Jonathan Taylor to rush for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 32 attempts.
Indy’s offensive line as a unit struggled some in the pass protection department, so having all five starters back along that unit should help against a top-tier Patriots’ pass-rush, led by Matthew Judon, who leads the team with 12.5 sacks.
Going into the last four games of the season, the Colts have little-to-no margin for error, so they’ll need as many healthy starters as possible for not just the key game against New England on Saturday but the rest of the regular season, too.