INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts today officially began on-field preparations for Sunday's Week 13 contest against the Houston Texans. What were some of the top takeaways on the day?
Here is today's injury report, the first of the week for the Colts:
— Linebacker Bobby Okereke, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, returned to the practice field today for the first time in 17 days. The Colts have accounted for his absence by putting the team's two other starting linebackers, Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker, on the field for 100 percent of the defensive snaps the last two weeks, while Zaire Franklin has also logged 32 and five snaps, respectively, in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans and Week 13 against the Houston Texans. Okereke, the second-year linebacker out of Stanford, has played in 10 games with six starts this season, and has 54 total tackles (four for a loss) with one interception, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery.
— Among those with new injuries on today's report are defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis (hip; did not practice) and tackle Braden Smith (groin; limited).
— There is a potential good news/bad news scenario regarding left tackle Anthony Castonzo and punter Rigoberto Sanchez. Both did not participate in Wednesday's first practice of the week — but that, in of itself, could be somewhat considered the good news, and that's because they still haven't landed on the injured reserve list, which would require them to sit out at least the next three weeks of action. Castonzo suffered an MCL sprain in the Week 12 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and hasn't played or practiced since. Sanchez, meanwhile, underwent surgery on Dec. 1 to remove a cancerous tumor, but head coach Frank Reich has said his prognosis is very positive moving forward. The fact neither Castonzo nor Sanchez have been placed on IR to this point is at the very least a possible indication that the team is thinking it could have either one of them back maybe within the next couple of weeks. We'll keep an eye on the situation.
Clark to IR
The Colts announced today that tackle Le'Raven Clark has been placed on injured reserve.
Reich confirmed Monday that Clark had suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in last Sunday's Week 13 win over the Houston Texans.
Clark was starting the game at left tackle in place of Castonzo, and was injured on Indy's fifth offensive play of the contest.
"A tough break for us and for Le'Raven, but obviously that is a big loss," Reich said Monday. "Le'Raven has come in and had a really good year for us. So he'll start the next steps towards that recovery and we'll give him all the support that he needs."
With Castonzo now week-to-week with his knee injury, and Clark now out for the season, the team will turn to veteran Chaz Green to step in at left tackle. Green played 64 offensive snaps there last Sunday against the Texans, and earned a season-best 65.7 overall game grade from Pro Football Focus, including a very solid 77.7 grade as a run blocker.
Green came into the Texans game battling a back injury, but he did not appear on the Colts' injury list today.
"He made some progress last week and he felt good in the game," Reich said of Green. "So, he's the next man up and I thought he did some good things in the game. Obviously, they have some good players and they've been playing pretty good on defense as of late. So I thought Chaz held his own."
To continue to pad the depth at tackle until Castonzo can return, the Colts are working through the process of getting at least one other outside player at the position in their building as soon as possible. The team also has undrafted rookie Carter O'Donnell on its practice squad if needed.
"That process is underway and then once we have everybody in the building and we assess where everybody is at physically, then we will put our plan together for this week," Reich said.