Colts’ Anthony Castonzo has sprained knee ligament

Andrew Luck’s protectors are now taking their own hits.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Sunday that left tackle Anthony

Castonzo will not play in the preseason finale after an MRI

confirmed Castonzo has a mild sprain of the medial collateral

ligament in his right knee. Castonzo was injured on the opening

series’ of Saturday night’s 27-6 victory over Cleveland and did not

return. Right guard Mike McGlynn did not play Saturday after

bruising his knee during practice last week.

Castonzo is listed as day-to-day, and Pagano said Sunday he

hopes both would be ready for the Sept. 8 opener against

Oakland.

”The MRI was pretty much negative. It wasn’t as bad as anybody

anticipated,” Pagano said, discussing Castonzo’s prognosis during

a conference call. ”You never want to lose anybody, and

particularly the guy who’s protecting the blind side of your

quarterback.”

Joe Reitz will replace Castonzo in the lineup at Cincinnati.

Reitz started nine games in 2011 and eight last season, all with

the Colts, after being cut by the Ravens in 2010.

Protecting Luck was Indy’s top offseason priority after yielding

41 sacks and dozens more hits last season. General manager Ryan

Grigson signed right tackle Gosder Cherilus and left guard Donald

Thomas in the first hours of free agency – an effort to shore up

Luck’s protection. Grigson also drafted two offensive linemen, Hugh

Thornton and Khaled Holmes, in the third and fourth rounds,

respectively.

While Cherilus and Thomas have been solid, the Colts aren’t

quite sure what they can expect from their injured rookies.

Holmes sprained his right ankle on the fourth day of training

camp and hasn’t practiced or played since then.

Thornton sprained his right ankle a few days before training

camp opened, returned to practice last week and made his preseason

debut Saturday.

”He knocked off a little bit of rust, but he looked pretty good

in there in both the run and the pass game,” Pagano said.

The offensive line isn’t the only spot where the Colts are

hurting.

Indy’s top two tight ends Dwayne Allen (right foot) and Coby

Fleener (right knee) sat out against Cleveland, and backup receiver

Nathan Palmer left late in the game with a knee injury. Pagano said

an MRI confirmed Palmer also has a sprained MCL and is likely to

miss four to six weeks – a diagnosis that could jeopardize his

ability to make the 53-man active roster.

The Colts have already begun the cut-down process.

On Sunday, they waived 11 players and put backup linebacker

Lawrence Sidbury on injured reserve, trimming the 90-man roster to

78. They must be down to 75 by Tuesday.

Sidbury signed on the first day of free agency, a move aimed at

helping special teams and bolstering the defense. But he hurt his

shoulder in last week’s win over the Giants and got a second

opinion this past week. Pagano said Sunday he will get another

opinion and likely will have surgery.

The Colts also waived cornerbacks Johnny Adams and Allen

Chapman, offensive linemen Danous Estenor and Rick Schmeig,

defensive tackle Kellen Heard, punter-kicker Brandon McManus,

running back Davin Meggett, linebacker C.O. Prime and safety

Ashante Williams. Receiver Maurice Williams was waived with an

injury settlement. Cornerback Teddy Williams was waived-injured and

will revert to Indy’s injured reserve if he clears waivers.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org