clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colts Head Coach Frank Reich ‘Hopeful and Optimistic’ that Shaquille Leonard Will Be Ready for Opener

It’s starting to look like Shaquille Leonard won’t be ready for the regular season opener, but it’s not time to panic yet.

NFL: JUL 28 Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to head coach Frank Reich, the Indianapolis Colts remain “hopeful and optimistic” that All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard can return in time for the team’s regular season opener on the road against the Houston Texans—which is quickly coming up on September 11th in just a few short weeks.

However, his team is also preparing for the ‘worst case scenario,’ and that Leonard won’t be ready—still recovering from a recent offseason back surgery (via The Athletic’s Zak Keefer):

The situation still remains entirely fluid. However, given that the Colts initially expected Leonard to be ready for the opener—and we’re now hearing more ‘non-committal’ responses, with the team now preparing for at least a slight delay—and it appears as though his potential availability for Week 1 is trending much more downward than up.

After all, it comes just a day after NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported that the Colts expect Leonard back at “some point” this season—which isn’t necessarily a glowing report.

It’s not necessarily time to panic, as even Leonard missing a few games during a 17-game regular season isn’t a death blow to the Colts’ playoff chances—and winning the AFC South.

However, any prolonged absence could be, as he’s the top playmaker for the Colts defense and arguably the unit’s best player. The Colts can find solid production from his linebacker replacement, but they aren’t going to be able to replicate Leonard’s dynamic skill-set and unique takeaway ability. When fully healthy, he’s one of the best linebackers in the sport.

Right now, it’s simply a ‘wait-and-see’ approach for the Colts’ brass, who will be keeping their fingers crossed that Leonard can make a full recovery and return to the football field—much sooner rather than later.