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Indianapolis Colts fans have been spoiled for nearly a decade now with the effective and shut down play of left tackle Anthony Castonzo.

After being drafted 22nd overall out of Boston College in 2011, Castonzo has protected some of the Colts most valuable investments. Castonzo sets the tone for the offensive line. And when he’s not on the field, it usually leads to the unit’s failure.

Castonzo has either missed or been injured in 15 games since his debut. In those games, Indianapolis is a combined 2-13.

Sunday versus the Tennessee Titans was yet another example. Castonzo left the game with a knee injury that ended up being a MCL sprain. Per Frank Reich, the amount of time that the Chicagoland native will miss is unknown. Reich said after the game that it was not a “worst case scenario” type of injury.

He’s the one guy you simply can’t afford having to miss games. On The Ride with JMV Monday, Stephen Holder brought up Philip Rivers’ numbers before and after Castonzo departed. It’s pretty clear how big of a role he consistently has played.

“Anthony Castonzo is the most irreplaceable player on this team,” Holder said. “Before the injury, Rivers was 7-for-8 with 104 yards. After the injury, he was 4-of-9 for 20 yards. Jadeveon Clowney didn’t even play, and yet Rivers had a lot of pressure.”

It won’t get any easier for the Colts either. If Castonzo has to miss a decent amount of time, they are at risk of having to face J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans twice without a fully healthy offensive line. Indianapolis will head down to the Lone Star State this Sunday to take on their division rival.

“I don’t love Houston’s defense but J.J. Watt is bringing it,” Holder added. “He’s got a little pep in his step right now. They’ve got Romeo Crennel as well who is all about bringing pressure. So it is not going to be easy.”

It’s time for a playoff push. And all hands need to be on deck if guys like Castonzo, DeForest Buckner, and Denico Autry aren’t able to lace up the cleats.

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