Despite initially clearing the league’s concussion protocol, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. has returned to said protocol after traveling with the team and re-experiencing concussion symptoms on Saturday (via Fox59/CBS4’s Mike Chappell):
A twist. Colts rule out Michael Pittman Jr. for Falcons. He was cleared from concussion protocol Friday and made the trip to Atlanta. But he then developed concussion symptoms and team placed him back in protocol. Just further proof concussions are difficult to deal with.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) December 23, 2023
As such, Pittman Jr. (concussion/shoulder) has officially been downgraded from ‘questionable’ to ‘out’ ahead of Sunday’s road game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Honestly though, this may be the best move for the Colts anyways, as after seeing Pittman Jr. sustain such a vicious hit during last Saturday’s big win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it may be in the best interests for his long-term health to sit out a week regardless.
At any rate, there really wasn’t a judgment call here to make for the Colts after all, as Pittman Jr. has re-entered the league’s protocol and is already out for Sunday’s game.
Finishing up a contract year, the 26 year old wideout leads the Colts in receptions (99) (*also good for 3rd most in the league), receiving yards (1,062), and touchdown receptions (4) during the 2023 campaign. He’s in-line for a lucrative multi-year contract extension.
No one should question Pittman Jr.’s toughness either, as he’s a ‘dawg,’ and it’s remarkable that he was even this close to playing after withstanding such a violent and arguably dirty hit (*and one that was the boiling over point for Steelers safety Damontae Kazee being ultimately suspended for the remainder of the season).
Pittman Jr.’s loss will no doubt be a critical one for the Indy offense, but it’s ‘next man up’ again for the Horseshoe, as it just means young wideouts such as Josh Downs and Alec Pierce need to step up their game on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Colts also ruled out running back Zack Moss (forearm), who realistically seemed like a longshot to play against the Atlanta Falcons given he was struggling to grip a football after suffering the arm injury last weekend. Star running back Jonathan Taylor is returning from recent minor thumb surgery and will be active, likely assuming bellcow duties again.