Indianapolis Colts rookie tight end, Jelani Woods, started off his career with a dramatic, game winning touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022. It was a sight for sore eyes as the team has had trouble finding consistent big-play production from that position for years. One couldn’t help but smile seeing the 6’ 7” frame come down with the ball believing the Colts finally found their man.
Woods hasn’t taken the field yet as he started the year on IR due to a pulled hamstring and has remained sidelined since. Woods was frustrated before the season started as he reinjured himself at the end of training camp. Fans are frustrated because they caught a glimpse of what they are missing towards the end of last year.
Indianapolis could use a healthy Woods, who bounced back from a slow start to his rookie season by catching 18 passes in the final six games and averaging 12.5 yards per reception, a remarkable number given his position and his team’s lack of downfield throws last season.
Adding to the frustration is the lack of updates coming from the team. Fans have unfortunately grown accustomed to a lack of transparency over the years from the Colts when it comes to injuries being assured player X is fine, player Y will be back soon, and don’t worry about player Z as he is progressing as expected. It seems we hear this over and over again only to find later that the player is done for the year.
Now we hear this from Shane Steichen regarding Woods.
As for #Colts TE Jelani Woods — who remains on IR due to a hamstring injury and has yet to play a game this year — I asked HC Shane Steichen twice yesterday if he expects Woods to play again this season.— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) October 14, 2023
“He’s progressing well. Once he’s cleared off IR, he’ll be off IR.” pic.twitter.com/XFvAUBKvGy
This came a week ago after basically a ghost town regarding updates on the second year man. It answers the question without answering the question at all. Hamstrings can be tricky. You don’t want to force them too soon. I get that, but look at the answer. Steichen says, “he is progressing well” three times, and “once he clears IR” twice. Both of those statements say absolutely nothing and provide no update or timeline.
It makes me wonder how severe the hamstring is. Is there something more here? These athletes are freaks of nature, given the best medical care available, and are able to do nothing but rest and rehab injuries. Here we are nearing the end of October, and all we know is he aggregated a hamstring at the end of August.
In no way am I saying Woods isn’t hurt. I am not even saying he should be playing right now. All I am saying is, that is the best update fans can get? I have seen Colts coaches hem and haw around and heard enough misleading statements from the team to not fully believe what they are saying. I am hopeful this isn’t another one of those cases and Woods will be back soon.