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INDIANAPOLIS – On Thursday, rehab work for Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker on the adjacent practice field was probably the most interesting aspect of a quieter day at Grand Park.

That duo could be on the real practice field as early as Friday night.

Geathers and Hooker were elevated from the physically unable to perform list on Thursday afternoon, following the duo missing the entire 2018 offseason with their respective injuries.

For Geathers, the Colts expected his return in early August after the fourth-year safety had a knee procedure earlier in the offseason.

A November 2016 neck injury has really stunted the development of Geathers. The physical safety was limited to just 5 games late last season. In that playing time, Geathers suffered a knee injury that needed surgery.

This is a contract year for Geathers, a 2015 fourth-round pick who was thought to be a definite building block on the defensive side of the ball. Health issues have put that on hold though.

Hooker’s imminent return is a bit of a surprise. Chris Ballard indicated a few weeks ago that Hooker’s first practice in 2018 might not be until after the team’s preseason opener a week from Thursday. Ballard thought Hooker would be good to go for the second half of the preseason.

But the ACL rehab for the young safety appears to be progressing a bit ahead of schedule. Hooker tore his right ACL and MCL on Oct. 22, 2017.

It goes without saying how important the health of these two are to this defense making strides in 2018. Hooker, in particular, provides a huge boost to the playmaking aspect of things. As a rookie last year, Hooker had 3 interceptions in just 7 games. With a new defense focused on more zone looks from their secondary, Hooker’s eyes should be even more glued on opposing quarterbacks.

Geathers and Hooker are expected to be the team’s starting safeties in 2018.

T.J. Green, who missed Thursday’s practice with a contusion injury, and Matthias Farley had been filling in at those spots this offseason.

At Thursday’s practice, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was holding court with the media about 50 yards away from the rehabbing duo of Geathers and Hooker.

While Eberflus spoke to the early errors in execution from his new defensive front, he was looking ahead to the two rehabbing safeties who can cure a lot.

“They are both athletic, both excellent players,” Eberflus said of Geathers and Hooker. “We are certainly excited to have them both.”

And so is the rest of Colts Nation to finally see this budding safety duo working together.

The Colts will return to practice on Friday night before taking their mandatory off day on Saturday. The team will then practice Sunday-Tuesday, before heading to Seattle for next Thursday’s preseason opener.