INDIANAPOLIS — If there’s one thing that we know is a constant in the NFL, it’s that injuries happen. It’s a violent sport with players crashing into each other over and over, so of course injuries are a guarantee.
The Indianapolis Colts are no strangers to this, as they have, unfortunately, dealt with plenty of their own injuries.
But by being in their bye week, the Colts (3-5) are given a few extra valuable days to heal up and get ready to make a run in the second half of the season. Here's a look at this year's injury situation to this point of the season, and what the team is looking at moving forward for the second half of the year:
First, let’s look at who the Colts have placed on injured reserve, either ending the player’s season or putting them on the shelf for at least eight weeks.
- WR Deon Cain — August 20
- QB Brad Kaaya — August 25
- DT/DE Tyquan Lewis — September 9
- S Ronald Martin — September 9
- TE Ross Travis — September 9
- WR James Wright — September 9
- OT J’Marcus Webb — September 16
- OT/OG Joe Haeg — September 30
- S Matthias Farley — October 14
- OG/C Matt Slauson — October 14
- WR Marcus Johnson — October 21
- DT Jihad Ward — October 28
In the recent past, the Colts have had seasons where it seems they are obliterated by season-ending injuries, especially to critical players. While they do have 12 players on IR now, the depth of their roster has made the sting a little duller.
For example, J’Marcus Webb and Joe Haeg’s injuries eventually led to the emergence of rookie Braden Smith at right tackle. Matt Slauson’s injury introduced us to Mark Glowinski, who has done a great job at right guard since Week 6.
It is also important to note that the Colts can designate two players who have been placed at IR since the start of the regular season to return at some point down the road. In that event, a player can hit the practice field no fewer than eight weeks after going on IR and then the team faces a 21-day deadline once they return to practice to decide whether to activate them or not.
Rookie defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis is in the middle of the IR-Designated for Return discussion, as he began practicing last week after sitting out the first two months of the season with a toe injury.
GIVING ACTIVE PLAYERS A CHANCE TO HEAL
As for the players who are on the active roster, they have kept the Colts’ weekly injury reports rather robust.
In Week 1, the Colts had just three players on the final injury report, but all three were out for the game. Naturally, as more games are played that number starts to grow. By Week 5 — the team’s short-week Thursday Night Football away game against the New England Patriots — they had 13 players on the final injury report, and nine of them were ruled out by kickoff.
The numbers began improving shortly thereafter. The following week’s report (with a mini, 10-day break in between) had 12 players on it, although eight of those players were declared inactive. However, Week 7’s report had just eight players on it (six missed the game), and Week 8’s report had 11 (five missed the game).
In total, Colts players have missed a combined 45 games due to injury.
Some players have been on the injury report quite a bit lately but have been able to return from their injuries — Denico Autry, Jack Doyle, Clayton Geathers, T.Y. Hilton, Darius Leonard, Marlon Mack and Arthur Maulet, for example.
However, some players haven’t been as fortunate and have missed at least the last game or two.
Ryan Grant (ankle) and Robert Turbin (shoulder) were injured against the New York Jets in Week 6 and have missed the last two games. Malik Hooker has made appearances on the report throughout the season with various ailments and missed last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Erik Swoope — in the midst of the hottest streak of his career — was able to play through a knee injury in Week 7, but missed Week 8.
While these are many of the players who have been hit with the injury bug, nobody in the NFL is at 100 percent, especially not at the midpoint of the season.
The Colts' Week 9 bye will allow many of these guys the chance to rest their bodies and then hit the practice field next week as the Colts prepare to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, a game that will no doubt be a physical affair.