UPDATED (11:40 a.m. ET Saturday)
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have ruled three players out of Sunday's Week 16 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers: left tackle Anthony Castonzo and wide receiver Marcus Johnson, as well as right tackle Braden Smith (Reserve/COVID-19 list).
One player, defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, is questionable.
» Smith's placement on the Reserve/COVID-19 list means reserve tackles Chaz Green or Will Holden will be likely candidates to step up into the right tackle role Sunday against the Steelers. Rookie Danny Pinter, who played right tackle at Ball State, could also be a possibility at the position. The team on Saturday also elevated offensive linemen Jake Eldrenkamp and J'Marcus Webb to the active roster from the practice squad. Smith will be missing just the second game of his career on Sunday; he sat out the Colts' Week 11 matchup against the Green Bay Packers due to a thumb injury.
» Castonzo suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee early in the second quarter of the Colts' Week 12 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and did not return. He ended up missing the following week's game against the Houston Texans before returning for Indy's Week 14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Castonzo was able to play all 54 offensive snaps in last Sunday's home victory over the Houston Texans. He did not practice on Wednesday, and was limited on Thursday with a new injury to his ankle added to the report, and then missed practice on Friday. Initially ruled questionable for the Steelers game on Friday, Castonzo on Saturday was downgraded to out. The Colts could elect to move All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson from left guard to left tackle on Sunday, and then utilize either Danny Pinter or Jake Eldrenkamp, who was just elevated to the active roster to the practice squad on Saturday, at left guard. Other options at left tackle against the Steelers, depending on who starts in Braden Smith's place at right tackle, will be Chaz Green or Will Holden, or possibly J'Marcus Webb, another offensive lineman elevated to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday.
» Johnson suffered a quad injury in last Sunday's win over the Houston Texans and didn't return to the ballgame. He would go to to miss the first two days of practice this week. With Johnson out on Sunday against the Steelers, then Ashton Dulin or DeMichael Harris could see added snaps at the wide receiver position for the Colts' offense. The team also has wide receiver Daurice Fountain on its practice squad if needed.
» Muhammad initially appeared on the injury report Wednesday, when he was limited with an ankle issue; he then sat out Thursday's practice. The fourth-year University of Miami product has played in all 14 games for the Colts this season as a key piece of depth off the edge, and has 21 total tackles (two for a loss) with two sacks, six quarterback hits and one forced fumble. If Muhammad is limited or can't play Sunday against the Steelers, then Ben Banogu, Kemoko Turay or Tyquan Lewis could all be in line for an added role at defensive end behind starters Justin Houston and Denico Autry.
Here is Friday's practice report, with their designation for Sunday's game (if applicable):
|Denico Autry||DT/DE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||DNP||FP||FP||—|
|Trey Burton||TE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||DNP||FP||FP||—|
|Justin Houston||DE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||DNP||FP||FP||—|
|Julian Blackmon||S||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|T.Y. Hilton||WR||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|Darius Leonard||LB||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|Kenny Moore II||CB||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|Braden Smith*||T||Not Injury Related||—||—||DNP||Out|
|Kemoko Turay||DE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
* Smith was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.