INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts' injury world spun hard again on Wednesday when it was learned tight end Dwayne Allen will miss the rest of the season with a hip injury that will require surgery.
"It makes you sick," said Chuck Pagano. "Injuries are part of this game, we know that. It's next man up. We feel for him, but he will get it taken care of, rehab and be back (next year)."
Allen was hurt during the Oakland opener and missed last Sunday's game against Miami. Allen led all rookie tight ends with 45 receptions in 2012, and he was one of four offensive players to start each game for Indianapolis.
Allen now joins running back Vick Ballard and guard Donald Thomas as Colts who have suffered season-ending injuries in the last week. Ballard had a non-contact knee injury in practice last Wednesday. Thomas was felled 15 snaps into the Miami game. All three players will require surgery.
"We were all hoping it would be something that with time and rest he would come around," said Pagano of Allen. "He's a tough, tough, tough kid.
"Once we got (this) evaluated and saw what the doctors saw and what needed to be done, for the long term, the big picture, it's the right thing to do."
Allen was part of a high-profile 2012 draft class that included Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Ballard, T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill, players who made big impacts on the Colts' 11-5 season.
"It's tough. It is the nature of the sport," said Luck. "You don't want to lose any of those guys. It stinks, but it's the way it is.
"My heart hurt for him (when I heard), sick a little bit. He loves football so much. He's such a football guy. It was the same feeling when I was told Vick went down and when Donald wouldn't be able to play the rest of the year."
Injury news hits hard emotionally for coaches and players. The pace of the business is unforgiving.
"You have almost be a little bit (disaffected and say), 'We have to move on now as a team.' Those guys understand that," said Luck. "The guys who will fill in understand that. It will take a collective unit effort as an offense to stay on track."
Allen missed the entire preseason with a foot injury. His appearance against Oakland was his only 2013 action. Fleener missed time last year unlike Allen, and he had a strong four-reception outing last week against Miami.
"From a friend perspective, you never want anybody to go down," said Fleener. "I know it's going to be hard on him emotionally as well as physically.
"From a teammate perspective, it's probably even harder because he's such a threat offensively that he makes my job easier on a weekly basis. It's going to be hard. As coach says, we prepare as if my buddy is going down. Unfortunately, that's the case this week."
Second-year pro Dominique Jones is the most veteran Colts tight end in addition to Fleener. Rookie Jack Doyle was claimed off waivers from Tennessee recently. Seventh-round draft pick Justice Cunningham could be ticketed to move from the practice squad to active status.
Said Pagano of Fleener and the unit, "(I'm) very confident. I think we all saw why we took Coby where we took him, what he can do. He played an excellent game, not only in the pass game, he blocked well. He'll continue to do that.
"He knows his role obviously is going to expand now. We have all the confidence in the world he will play at a winning level for us."