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INDIANAPOLIS – The neck and concussion injuries for Clayton Geathers will not be putting him on injured reserve.
In fact, Geathers was back on the practice field Thursday, as a limited participant, after injuring his neck and suffering a concussion a week ago against the Patriots.
Frank Reich said on Wednesday that the Colts were evaluating the severity of Geathers’ neck injury. Well, after missing practice on Wednesday, Geathers was clearly not as seriously injured as prior neck issues.
Geathers playing on Sunday is still no guarantee, as he needs to clear a few more steps in the concussion protocol by Saturday. But the fact that he avoided IR, and returned to practice, after injuring his neck—the same body part that kept him off the field for around a year during the 2016-17 campaigns—is a great sign for his 2018 outlook.
After initially passing a concussion test against New England, Geathers began having some concussion symptoms when being evaluated for a neck injury. That’s why he didn’t re-enter the game last Thursday.
Here’s a notebook run-down of what else happened on Thursday with the Colts practicing for the Jets:
- We know that T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle are likely not playing in Week Six. Should we toss anyone else into that group? Probably not for now, but things aren’t looking great for the likes of DL-Denico Autry (hamstring), TE-Eric Ebron (leg), S-Matthias Farley (wrist, groin, shoulder), C-Ryan Kelly (right calf) and DL-Margus Hunt (knee) have now missed consecutive practices. Will any of them practice on Friday or is this the inactive list for Week Six? What about Geathers?
- Kelly’s absence again on Thursday did see him doing some rehab stuff, by pushing a sled during the open media portion of practice. The starting center is still walking with a bit of a limp. Not having Kelly in Week Six would be a huge loss. He’s played every snap this season at center and the Colts are already down their two emergency centers in Joe Haeg (IR) and Matt Slauson (IR).
- If Kelly can’t go, the Colts have no obvious answer at center. The lead guy is probably the newly signed Evan Boehm, who joined the team on Monday off of the Rams’ practice squad. Boehm is a three-year vet, who has made 9 career starts at guard. He’s never played center in an NFL regular season game, although he did play there in college. The 2016 fourth-round pick has been busy with assistant line coach Bobby Jonson this week trying to get up to speed. Do not be surprised if the Colts need Boehm in a big way on Sunday. And that will be quite the task, on the road, going against the blitz-crazy Todd Bowles.
- With Denzelle Good back to practice on Thursday, it’s looking like the Colts could be on their way to using him at right tackle and then Braden Smith at right guard against the Jets. Could this be their combination on the right side for the foreseeable future? With Good out earlier in the week, we saw Smith staying at right tackle (where he started against the Patriots), and then Marc Glowinski at right guard.
- Seeing Darius Leonard back at practice is a great sign, but the Colts are still without two starting defensive linemen in Margus Hunt (knee) and Denico Autry (hamstring). Those losses would be massive with the Jets committed to pounding the rock on the ground.
- Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni continues to be pleased with Reece Fountain’s practice squad work. But Fountain remains on the junior varsity. Will that change later in the year, with the Colts needing a spark at the receiver position? “I think he’s looked good,” Sirianni said of the fifth-round pick. “With 4 (healthy) receivers, he’s been thrown out there in reps with Andrew (Luck). He’s still developing. I’ve seen him make plays on the scout team and know what to do and go in with (the first team) and know the plan. That’s a credit to him. He’s studying like he’s playing and that will bode well for him when it is his opportunity.”
- Cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion) is back to practice this week. And Matt Eberflus has been pleased with Wilson’s effort. But we are still hearing the same sort of things from the coaching staff about Wilson that we heard last year. There’s a lack of daily consistency from the 22-year-old cornerback. When coaches talk about Wilson, they use words you would never hear to describe Kenny Moore, another second-year cornerback. “He’s trying to get there and learn the system,” Eberflus said on Thursday. “We have him at spots where he’s going to be in there, if he’s going to be up (on Sunday) or not. We are still looking at all those things. He’s had good energy these last couple of days and we like how he’s executing. I think he’s into it, 100 percent committed into it the last couple of days. This is a day-by-day business. You have to bring it every day and you have to show every single day that you have passion, emotion and you love the game of football. Do you show that every day? That’s something we talk to our players about. It’s one thing, and I’m not necessarily talking about one player, to be a flash player, where he plays good for one week or plays good for one practice and then all of a sudden goes away. We want guys that will be able to sustain that enthusiasm, sustain that passion and truly love the game of football. Those are the kinds of guys we want on this team.” A lack of technique and grasping of this new system and fundamentals are apparently not there (yet) for Wilson. Remember, this is supposed to be a very easy defensive scheme to learn, by NFL standards. There’s a new coaching staff in Indy, but Wilson is still not doing enough, health aside, to entrench himself as a definite starter.
- Eberflus also touched on the play of Malik Hooker this year. The defensive coordinator said Hooker’s quieter start to the season is something he would point to more so because of not having as many plays coming towards his deeper safety area. “He’s just growing as we go,” Eberflus said of Hooker. “He’s been our middle field guy and our half-safety guy. He’s just growing as we go. I think he’ll get a little more confidence as he goes coming off that injury. The more confidence he has, I think he’s going to make a lot more plays as the season goes. I’m excited to see where he is. He hasn’t had the opportunities yet. But as the season goes and you have 1,100 snaps, you’re going to have some opportunity to make some plays on the deep ball.”
- Marlon Mack and Anthony Castonzo continue to be full participants in practice. Both are great signs for Mack returning this week and Castonzo making his 2018 debut.
THURSDAY’S INJURY REPORT
DNP: DE-Denico Autry (hamstring), TE-Jack Doyle (hip), TE-Eric Ebron (shin/quad/ankle/wrist), S-Matthias Farley (shoulder/groin/wrist), WR-T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring), DL-Margus Hunt (knee), C-Ryan Kelly (calf)
–Bowen’s Analysis: That’s six starters and a very key defender in Farley now having missed consecutive practice days this week.
LIMITED: S-Clayton Geathers (neck/concussion), LB-Darius Leonard (ankle)
–Bowen’s Analysis: Geathers is still in the concussion protocol. Leonard returned to practice on Thursday.
FULL: OT-Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), OT-Denzelle Good (personal), CB-Nate Hairston (ankle), S-Malik Hooker (back), RB-Marlon Mack (hamstring), S-Mike Mitchell (pectoral), CB-Kenny Moore (concussion), DT-Hassan Ridgeway (calf), CB-Anthony Walker (concussion), CB-Quincy Wilson (concussion)
–Bowen’s Analysis: Very good news for some key names in this quintet. I would expect all 5 to be healthy to play on Sunday.
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