INDIANAPOLIS – Whenever Frank Reich describes the injury list as ‘long’ it’s going to catch some attention.
That’s what happened on Wednesday with Reich electing to wait until that afternoon’s injury report for updates on the Colts lengthiest practice report of the year.
Let’s take a closer look at the Colts injuries, following Wednesday and Thursday practices, as they prepare for a massive one vs. Jaguars:
RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle): Thursday marked Taylor’s return to practice (limited) as he looks to get back to game action this Sunday. Considering Taylor has missed only one game due to his ankle injury, practicing on Thursday and then again Friday should be enough to get him back on the field against Jacksonville. Of course, how Taylor reacts from this practice time will be the deciding factor.
RB-Nyheim Hines (concussion): Hines has been wearing a red practice jersey this week (no contact), an indicator a few steps remain in him progressing through the entire concussion protocol. Even though Hines could be a three-day practice participant this week, that doesn’t guarantee him playing Sunday. He does have a chance though. Hines was limited again on Thursday.
C-Ryan Kelly (hip): Like Taylor, Kelly made his (limited) return to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s first session of the week. Kelly left the Denver game in the first half and did not return due to his hip injury. Frank Reich said on Wednesday that the coaching staff has not discussed benching a healthy Kelly.
LG-Quenton Nelson (ankle/shoulder): Nelson is playing on Sunday, but he is listed on the injury report this week with ankle and shoulder ailments. Nelson has been FULL at each practice. It’s a reminder though that amidst all the Colts offensive line issues, having their main guys available hasn’t been a problem. Each of the 5 expected starting offensive lineman entering the season have played in every game this year.
DE-Kwity Paye (ankle): There’s no boot on Paye as he observes practice this week, but he does appear to be wearing a sleeve with a small brace/cast. Frank Reich describes things with Paye as a “week-to-week evaluation” after the second-year defensive end left Thursday’s game in Denver early. Without Paye, for however long, expect increased usage for Tyquan Lewis and Dayo Odeyingbo.
DE-Yannick Ngakoue (rest): Of the 8 Colts who did not practice to start this week, two of those guys were due to rest. Ngakoue, who has missed just 2 games in 7 NFL seasons (100 games played), was one of those.
DL-Tyquan Lewis (concussion): Lewis missed the Denver game due to a concussion, but seems to be progressing well through the protocol this week. He was FULL on Thursday, whereas Hines remain limited. Lewis’ return this week brings even more importance with the Paye injury situation.
DT-Eric Johnson (illness): After sitting out Wednesday’s practice, Johnson returned on Thursday (Iimited). The 5th round rookie has played 31 rotational snaps in 5 games.
LB-Shaquille Leonard (concussion, nose, back): Honestly, of everyone on this list, I’d put Leonard and Kwity Paye in the “most likely to miss” for Sunday. It’s multiple injuries for Leonard, including a broken nose. And he has yet to practice this week.
CB-Tony Brown (concussion): Brown was working off to the side during Wednesday’s practice before participating in Thursday’s session (limited). While Brown has yet to play a defensive snap this season, his 97 special teams snaps ranks second on team, and he will be one needing to take on an even bigger ST role with Ashton Dulin out for at least the next month.
CB-Stephon Gilmore (rest): It was a rest day on Wednesday for the 32-year-old. Gilmore has played 321 of 331 defensive snaps this season.
S-Julian Blackmon (ankle): The Colts have had Blackmon back to practice on Wednesday (limited) and Thursday (full). Blackmon hasn’t played since leaving the Kansas City game in Week Three with an ankle injury. Does a healthy Blackmon mean rookie Rodney Thomas II goes back to the bench?
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