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INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time all season, Frank Reich did not rule out any Colts players following the final practice of the week.

That means the awesome story of Rigoberto Sanchez’s return continues, with the punter back to game action on Sunday, less than three weeks removed from needing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor (which he had on Tuesday, December 1st).

“I’m really excited to tell you we are expecting Rigo to punt on Sunday,” Reich shared after Friday’s final practice of the week. “Just happy that’s he had a good week and got up to speed quickly and feel confident and excited that he’s back in the lineup.”

Sanchez will punt and kickoff in his return.

What else did we learn from the Colts at their final practice of the week?

  • Now, the Colts do have a big name on the ‘questionable’ list for Sunday’s contest with the Texans. DeForest Buckner injured his ankle at Thursday’s practice and missed Friday’s session, so Reich and the Colts are listing the extremely valuable 6-7 defensive tackle as questionable. Obviously, Buckner is massively important every week, particularly against the ever-elusive Deshaun Watson. It’s very rare to see Buckner miss practice due to injury. He’s missed just 2 games in his 5-year NFL career, with 1 of those due to a positive COVID-19 test last month.

 

  • Tight end Mo Alie-Cox (knee) has dealt with a nagging knee injury as of late and will also be questionable for Sunday’s game with the Texans. Reich said Alie-Cox practiced limited on Friday and has made good progress. “Mo is a tough guy,” Reich said on Friday. “You don’t know half the time he’s hurt because he doesn’t talk about it much and he’s a real tough guy. Hopefully he’ll do well in the next 48 hours and be ready to go.”

 

  • Could this be the final game (as a Houston Texan) J.J. Watt plays against the Colts? Watt has 13 sacks, 24 tackles for loss, 35 quarterback hits, 11 passes defensed and 3 forced fumbles in 14 career games vs. Indy. Might Watt, who is 31 years old and a 2022 free agent, be a trade option for Houston looking to get draft picks back?

 

  • The Colts had to love what they saw on tape from the Texans last week. Chicago scored 28 points in the first half (the most in over two years for them) and a quarterback who was benched earlier in the season (Mitch Trubisky) was 18-of-21 for 178 yards and 3 TDs in that opening half.

 

  • One stat you definitely won’t see repeated on Sunday from the first meeting between these two teams: Jonathan Taylor having just 1-carry in a 40-minute stretch. The Colts finally went back to Taylor in the 4th quarter back in Week 13, and the rookie delivered with more than 70 rushing yards.

 

  • Earlier this week, Matt Eberflus credited his defensive players’ effort and motor for being so stout in second halves this season. Currently, the Colts are 3rd in the NFL in points allowed in the second half this season (101, 7.8 points per 2nd half).

 

  • From a personnel standpoint, the Texans did lose two notable defensive starters (S-Justin Reid, DT-Brandon Dunn) from the first meeting between these two teams on December 6th. And the Colts will have 3 key pieces back who missed that first matchup: LT-Anthony Castonzo, LB-Bobby Okereke, S-Khari Willis.

 

 

  • The Colts will have a Saturday morning walk-through ahead of Sunday’s 1:00 PM home kick against the Texans, in front of 10,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

FINAL Injury Report

-OUT: None

-Questionable: DT-DeForest Buckner (ankle), TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), LT-Anthony Castonzo (knee)