The Indianapolis Colts released their injury report ahead of Sunday’s road matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Among those inactive include center Jack Anderson, cornerback JuJu Brents, linebacker Zaire Franklin, tight end Will Mallory, right tackle Braden Smith and cornerback Ameer Speed.
Right tackle Braden Smith will miss his fourth consecutive game. Smith continues to battle a hip and wrist injury, which has allowed rookie fourth-round pick Blake Freeland to take his place. Freeland, who was originally questionable with a back injury and missed practice on Thursday and Friday, is active and will again start in Smith’s place.
Linebacker Zaire Franklin was originally listed as questionable with a knee injury after he didn’t practice all week long. Franklin was then downgraded to doubtful on Saturday and is also inactive against Carolina. Franklin’s absence is certainly noteworthy, as he leads the NFL in total tackles and will be missing the first game of his career. Perhaps the Colts allow veteran linebacker Shaq Leonard to see more playing time in Franklin’s absence, but it’s possible we could also see more of E.J. Speed as well.
Cornerback JuJu Brents continues to battle a quad injury, which has many Colts fans wondering who will replace the rookie at outside corner. Indianapolis called up Chris Lammons from their practice squad on Saturday, so there’s a good chance he’ll get the nod over Tony Brown or possibly even Darrell Baker Jr. as well. Lammons has played only 32 defensive snaps in the last four seasons, but with the Colts desperately thin at cornerback and in search of an answer, it may be worth giving Lammons a chance.
The Colts, 3-5, will go into Carolina attempting to snap a three-game losing streak. Carolina, 1-6, on the other hand, will be looking for their second win of the 2023 season. If the Colts wish to keep their playoff hopes alive, coming away with a much-needed win against a struggling Panthers’ team is crucial.