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INDIANAPOLIS – Arguably the Colts’ most intriguing rookie will not see the field in 2018.
Wide receiver Deon Cain tore his ACL in Thursday’s preseason opener. He will miss the entire season.
“It’s very unfortunate, obviously,” Frank Reich said of Cain’s injury on Friday evening. “(Cain) was having a great camp. Everyone could see that. We will support him and he will come back stronger and faster next year. We know we got something special in Deon Cain that we can develop into a great player.
“This is obviously a big setback, but in this league it’s not uncommon. Good players find a way to overcome those obstacles and we are counting on Deon overcoming this one as well.”
Cain was definitely impressing in camp, showing off the 20-touchdown ability he had in 3 seasons at Clemson.
He was starting to climb into more and more first-team reps with the Colts acknowledging the unique trait Cain was bringing to a smaller wideout group.
“Among the highlights was his ability to get off press coverage,” Reich said of the 6-1 Cain. “That’s an important attribute at this level with a lot of teams playing tight man-to-man coverage and press on the outside.
“One of the traits Deon was flashing with some consistency was an ability to really win versus press coverage.”
In guys like T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers, the Colts don’t have that receiver who can routinely snatch 50/50 balls out of the air like Cain had shown this offseason.
With Cain out for the 2018 season, the Colts will evaluate their options in trying to maintain some support for Hilton.
Fellow draft pick Reece Fountain has not really made any impression this offseason and has battled a knee injury for the past week.
Bigger targets like K.J. Brent and Krishawn Hogan have flashed a bit in camp and were looking to challenge for roster spots, even before the injury to Cain.
Will the injury to Cain force the Colts to look into the outside market for another receiver?
“We are always evaluating,” Reich said on Friday. “But, right now, we are happy with the guys that we have. These guys have been working hard and they’ve earned the right to have their opportunity to step up and fill the gap.
“We know that every team is next man up. As unfortunate as Deon’s injury is, we have to maintain that mentality and these young guys have an opportunity to do that.”
Other Injury News
-The Colts will be without running backs Marlon Mack (hamstring) and Robert Turbin (ankle) for some time. Frank Reich has listed the top two running backs as ‘week-to-week’ after they suffered injuries in Thursday’s preseason opener. So the Colts only have 3 healthy running backs with camp starting back up on Saturday (Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and Christine Michael). While Turbin’s injury shouldn’t impact the regular season with him already suspended for the first 4 games, but the injury to Mack bears watching as August reaches its latter stages.