Colts’ best preseason feat may be getting healthy
Indianapolis already has two wins, has kept its last two
opponents out of the end zone and has seen Andrew Luck make steady
The Colts’ biggest feat this preseason may be simply getting
In a preseason rife with injuries, the Colts have so far avoided
taking the big blows and could open the season Sept. 8 against
Oakland at or near full strength.
”Football is a dangerous game and people get hurt, and
fortunately, I’ve been able to skirt those kinds of injuries,”
tight end Coby Fleener said Monday after returning to practice
following a right knee injury.
He’s still waiting to hear whether he’ll play in Thursday
night’s preseason finale at Cincinnati.
Regardless whether Fleener is on the field or not, things
certainly look better in Indy (2-1) than with some of the other AFC
Denver, the trendy favorite, has already lost its starting
center for the season, and Wes Welker and Champ Bailey are trying
to get back on the field. Defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore
already lost tight end Dennis Pitta for the season. New England is
still waiting for tight end Rob Gronkowski to get healthy after
having offseason back surgery, Miami tight end Dustin Keller is out
for the season with a right knee injury and Pittsburgh is trying to
sort out its injury-plagued backfield.
It’s not that the Colts (2-1) have avoided taking hits.
Linebacker Pat Angerer, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and
defensive lineman Fili Moala all started training camp on the
physically unable to perform list after offseason surgeries. Pro
Bowl safety LaRon Landry missed more than two weeks with a left
Offensive lineman Hugh Thornton sprained his right ankle in
rookie mini-camp and fourth-round pick Khaled Holmes sustained the
same injury four days into training camp. Tight end Dwayne Allen
(right foot) missed the last two games and Fleener has already had
to contend with a concussion and a right knee injury.
Right guard Mike McGlynn also missed the Cleveland game after
bruising his knee in practice last week, and left tackle Anthony
Castonzo departed Saturday’s game on the opening series with a
sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Five players, including free-agent signee Lawrence Sidbury
(shoulder), have already been put on injured reserve and are gone
for the season.
But somehow, the Colts have minimized their losses.
”They’re working their butts off to get back,” Luck said of
Allen and Fleener. ”I’m sure we’ll see them soon.”
The Colts, coming off an 11-5 season and a nine-game improvement
over 2011, have looked good at full strength.
Angerer, Landry and linebacker Jerrell Freeman all played
against Cleveland, marking the first time Indy’s starting defense
was on the field all preseason. The starting defense allowed only
four first downs, 104 total yards and pitched a shutout against the
Browns for nearly 2 1/2 quarters.
”I’ve been good for a while, it’s just a matter of being
smart,” Angerer said. ”We definitely have the right guys. Our
defensive line is playing tremendous and the guys behind us (the
secondary) are great, but we’re definitely not all there yet.”
Neither is the offense, which has been piecing things together
for the last month.
Luck played most of Saturday’s game without two of his starting
linemen, and with Justice Cunningham and Dominique Jones as the
only tight ends on a roster that was expected to use more
double-tight end formations.
But it looks as if all the missing players could be back for the
Allen returned to practice last week. McGlynn was walking around
the locker room just fine Monday, a good sign for a player trying
to fend off a challenge for his starting job. Bradshaw is expected
to be full go when the season starts, and Fleener and Holmes are
practicing again. Even Castonzo sounds optimistic.
”It was very good news to hear, that it was kind of a minor
thing and it should not cut into the season,” he said Monday.
”We’re kind of taking day by day, but the goal is to be ready for
The only real question this week is whether the Colts will play
it safe against Cincinnati.
Coach Chuck Pagano was to meet with his coaching staff later
Monday to make that decision. One thing is clear, though.
”We’ll be smart,” he said. ”I’ll let you know at a later
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org