INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts are down another wide receiver.
Head coach Frank Reich confirmed today that wide receiver Chester Rogers will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
“Chester is going to be put on IR, and obviously be done for the year,” Reich said today in his weekly conference call with local reporters. “Just really appreciate Chester and everything he’s done this year. He’s been great — practices hard, really a lot of what we’re all about.”
Rogers suffered his injury early in the first quarter of Sunday’s Week 13 loss to the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. On just the Colts’ second play from scrimmage — and Rogers’ first offensive play of the game — he went down clutching his left knee as he engaged in a block with linebacker Kamalei Correa.
Rogers, who was originally labeled as questionable to return to Sunday’s ballgame, was eventually downgraded to out.
He’s the latest Colts wide receiver to go down with a season-ending injury, a list that started with Daurice Fountain (ankle) back in training camp and continued into Week 1 of the regular season with Devin Funchess (clavicle).
Wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell are also currently sidelined, and have missed multiple games throughout the season with various injury issues.
The Colts were optimistic that Funchess, who was placed on IR, would be able to return for the final few weeks of the regular season, but Reich confirmed Sunday that tests indicated the wide receiver’s surgically-repaired clavicle wouldn’t be 100 percent healed by the time the team faced its Wednesday deadline to decide whether to return him to the active roster or revert him to IR for the rest of the season.
Rogers played in 12 games with six starts this season, his fourth with the Colts. He finished with 16 receptions for 179 yards and a career-high-tying two touchdowns.
Rogers was also the Colts’ primary punt returner, and entered Sunday’s Week 13 action ranked third in the NFL in punt return average (9.8). Indy turned to running back Nyheim Hines to handle punt returner duties in Rogers’ place Sunday against the Titans, and he had two returns for 32 yards (16 avg.), including a 23-yard return late in the second quarter.
Campbell, Hilton updates
With Rogers knocked out of the game, and with Campbell and Hilton both inactive Sunday against the Titans, the Colts had to finish out the day with just three active wide receivers in Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Ashton Dulin.
All three had career days in their own right: Pascal had a career-best seven receptions for 109 yards; Johnson had a career-best 55 receiving yards on four receptions; while Dulin, an undrafted rookie, logged his first-career reception, a 13-yard pass play late in the second quarter.
But with all the injuries, what’s the immediate future at the wide receiver position for the Colts?
» Campbell, who suffered a fractured right hand Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, was able to be a limited participant in practice all three days last week, but just wasn’t quite ready to go to make his return to game action against the Titans, Reich said today. He added it’s too soon to tell if the speedy rookie out of Ohio State will be able to return this Sunday on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the optimism remains.
“But I was optimistic last week, to be honest,” Reich said. “I was hoping that he was gonna get there last week, and we didn’t quite get there. So that would make you believe that there’s a pretty good chance this week, but we’ve said this many times: until you actually get out there and practice, and especially, like we said, for a younger guy, we need to see it all three days out there — Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — that he’s ready mentally and physically to go. And hopefully he is, but it’s too early to tell.”
» Hilton, meanwhile, originally suffered a calf injury during a non-contact portion of practice on Oct. 30, and sat out the Colts’ next three games. He was able to return to play a limited role Week 12 against the Houston Texans, playing 25 offensive snaps and finishing with three receptions for 18 yards, but the eighth-year veteran suffered a setback with his calf injury during last Wednesday’s practice and was ruled out against the Titans.
Asked today if Hilton, who is now considered week-to-week, faces the possibility of missing the team’s final four games of the regular season, Reich said, “We’re hopeful that he’ll return.”
Reich and general manager Chris Ballard both also mentioned Monday that a move to bring another wide receiver to the 53-man roster — whether from the practice squad or by utilizing free agency — is imminent.
“Yeah, we’ll see,” Ballard told Colts.com’s Matt Taylor on Monday. “We’re working through some options (with) what we have.”
Return of the Mack?
Marlon Mack was putting together a Pro Bowl-worthy season when he suffered a fractured right hand Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He underwent surgery and has missed the Colts’ last two games against the Texans and Titans.
Last week at this time, Reich could easily rule Mack out of the Tennessee game, but with the Buccaneers game now six days away and with Mack another week removed from surgery, Reich said today the third-year running back’s status is a little more up in the air.
“Yeah, we’re just definitely gonna have to monitor him,” Reich said. “Felt like he was making good progress last week, but, you know, I just knew that last week was out of the question, so it wasn’t even in my mind. So we’ll just monitor him this week and see how it goes.”