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INDIANAPOLIS – So much was good from the Colts’ 38-10 over the Titans on Sunday.

But a sour taste did come in the 4th quarter with Ryan Kelly suffering a knee injury that could cause him to miss some time, Frank Reich confirmed during a Monday conference call.

“I’m not ready to put a ‘week-to-week’ status on it yet, (but) he could miss a little time,” Reich said. “We are going to take a few days to monitor it and assess it a little further before we give it any status.”

Given Reich offered that update for Kelly on Monday, when the center was scheduled for an MRI, indicates the Colts will likely be without their starting center for at least Sunday’s upcoming game with the Dolphins (5-5).

Kelly left this past Sunday’s win with 14:14 when he suffered the knee injury.

Replays didn’t provide a clear view of exactly what happened to Kelly in the pile, but he did walk off the field under his own power. After being evaluated in the sideline medical tent, Kelly then walked to the locker room with members of the athletic training staff.

After the game, Kelly said the injury was different from the one that kept him out of last Friday’s practice, but it did occur on the same nagging knee.

Knee and concussion issues last season kept Kelly off the field for 9 games.

In 2018, Kelly has started all 10 games and has played in 96.8 percent of the team’s snaps, the third highest percentage on the team. Kelly did miss some practice time in October with a calf injury.The immediate answer at center will go to Evan Boehm, Reich said on Monday.

Boehm, who the Colts signed off the Rams practice squad back on Oct. 9, has filled in for Kelly in mop-up duty against Buffalo and Tennessee, while also seeing some center action with the first unit when Kelly left the Raiders game for a series back on Oct. 28.

Originally, the Colts needed Boehm as an interior backup, with Matt Slauson going on IR in early October and Joe Haeg still working his way back to full health.

Boehm has dressed for each of his 6 games with the Colts. He has started 9 games in his NFL career, but none of those have come at center.

During the offseason, the Colts drilled Haeg a lot at center, preparing him to be a versatile backup. Even though Haeg has yet to play an NFL regular season snap at center, the staff clearly thinks he has that ability.

Haeg’s return to game action can’t come this Sunday though, as he has to sit out one more game before being eligible to return from injured reserve. Haeg started practicing again last week, the first time he had been on the practice field since injuring his ankle, and going on IR, following the team’s Week Three loss to the Eagles.

“We feel like Evan’s ready, if he’s the one playing,” Reich said on Monday of the 2016 fourth-round pick of the Cardinals. “Obviously Ryan is playing at a super high-level.

“I’m not going to suggest there won’t be any changes but there will be very minimal. Really, it comes down to (Boehm) systematically plugging in and being able to take control and show a handle of the protection and make the calls in the run game, and in protections. We have confidence he can do that.”

With Boehm the guy in place of Kelly, the Colts do not have an obvious backup center under this current situation. Would interior options Quenton Nelson or Mark Glowinski slide over in a pinch? Other backups Le’Raven Clark and Denzelle Good have no center history in the NFL.

While Reich is optimistic on Boehm filling in during the immediacy, there’s no denying the high-level of play that Kelly was at in 2018.

Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has not shied away from calling Kelly the ‘best center in football’ here in his third NFL season.

“I have no doubt that he is the best center in the National Football League,” DeGuglielmo, the Colts’ new offensive line coach, said of Kelly during the team’s bye week. “He is the most complete guy. Turn the tape on, find me one better—strength, athletic ability, intelligence, quickness. You have to struggle to find a flaw, at that position, with that guy. He’s exactly what you want in terms of understanding the game and being a football player.

“The difference in his play now and his play last year is his physical play is really coming out. He’s always been a smart guy. He’s always been athletic. But now, he’s actually physically moving people and getting after people on the second level and getting out to people on the edges. He is everything you look for. The fact that he’s finishing plays better than last year shows up on game tape.”

Kelly and Andrew Luck being on the same page with pre-snap identification has undoubtedly been a huge reason why the Colts haven’t allowed a sack in 5 games.

Luck hasn’t been sacked in 214 pass attempts, the NFL’s longest streak since 1991. The quarterback wasn’t even hit in Sunday’s win over the Titans.

The continuity up front, which hasn’t changed throughout the 5-game sack-less streak is a major reason why the Colts have protected so well.

Adversity looks to have hit the biggest bright spot for the Colts in 2018.

How will the unit respond?


In other injury news, Reich was more optimistic on the knee injury DL-Margus Hunt suffered in the first half of Sunday’s win. It sounds like Hunt’s return would be quicker than Kelly. Hunt has battled a knee injury for much of the 2018 season.