ANDERSON – When Khaled Holmes walked out to the practice field late Saturday afternoon, with a walking boot on his left leg, the murmurs began among the media members.
A final answer on Holmes' status was forthcoming, one that should provide a sigh of relief for Colts fans.
Holmes left ankle sprain that he suffered in Thursday's preseason opener is only expected to sideline the Colts starting center for a couple of weeks.
"We're optimistic that he'll get back in time to get in the lineup and have at least a week or so of practice, two or three, whatever it is," Pagano said following Saturday's practice.
"I don't know what it will end up being, but we're optimistic that he'll be back by the opener,"
On Thursday night, undrafted free agent Jonotthan Harrison was called upon to play center for the starting offense once Holmes exited after seven plays.
Despite two errant snaps, Harrison overcame any NFL debut jitters to impress Pagano.
Harrison once again got the nod with the starting unit on Saturday afternoon and he knows those chances will continue to come.
"It's very unfortunate what happened to (Holmes) but at the same time, it's a great opportunity for me to get in and get the experience, especially in these preseason games," the three-year starter at the University of Florida said.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity. I'm thankful for the experience, and I'm definitely going to capitalize on it as much as I can."
When Harrison wasn't taking reps as the first team center on Saturday, rookie Jack Mewhort slid into the middle of the line (Lance Louis then came in for Mewhort at left guard).
Mewhort was a high school center, but moved all over the line once he got to Ohio State due to Michael Brewster, a current Jacksonville Jaguar, occupying the middle.
The Colts second-round pick knows the fine-motor skills that are a must when he makes the transition to center.
"When you go over to center, you're the guy making the calls, recognizing the defensive fronts, so you really have to be on your mental game because really everybody on the field is depending on you to make those calls," Mewhort says.
Going forward it sounds like Harrison will receive the bulk of the center reps with Holmes sidelined.
"Jon had been getting 90–95 (of the snaps)," Pagano says of the breakdown at center.
"We needed to evaluate those guys at those two spots so if we needed to, if situations in a game called for one of those, we needed to see Jon at center."