INDIANAPOLIS – The injury news at the forefront of the Colts' headlines coming into this week received some much better news on Monday.
Any long-term timeframes for the injured Colts doesn't appear to be the case.
That's terrific news for Chuck Pagano's team entering a five-game stretch that will decide its playoff fate.
Here is the Monday notebook with the Colts returning for practice going into Week 13:
**The first injury report of the week for the Colts will not come until Wednesday, with a bonus practice on Monday after the mini-bye.
Here are updates from Monday's practice and the media availability that followed:
- OLB-Trent Cole (back): It's looking like the Colts have their injured reserve to return candidate for this season. Cole was participating at Monday's practice. The veteran outside linebacker went on IR in Week Three. He's now eligible to play in a game, and clearly healthy enough to practice. The Colts have an exemption in Cole being allowed to practice. For Cole to play in a game, the Colts will have to make a roster move to move him onto the active roster. The Colts can do that anytime between now and a 21-day period.
- CB-Vontae Davis (groin): Davis was not at Monday's practice, during the open media portion. Chuck Pagano said afterwards that he's optimistic Davis will play against the Jets this coming week.
- S-Clayton Geathers (concussion): Just like Luck, Geathers was a non-contact participant on Monday. Geathers is in the final stages of his concussion protocol. Chuck Pagano expects Geathers to play Monday in New York.
- G-Denzelle Good (neck): The team's starting right guard did some stretching at Monday's practice, but was just an observer during the team's individual drills.
- WR-T.Y. Hilton (lower back): The Hilton update is below.
- C-Ryan Kelly (shoulder): The Colts had their starting center and quarterback practicing on Monday. Kelly left last Thursday's loss to the Steelers after just three snaps.
- QB-Andrew Luck (concussion): The more expansive Luck update is here. In short, Luck is back to practice, nearing the end of the concussion protocol and is expected to play next Monday.
- OLB-Robert Mathis (elbow): The Colts did not have Mathis practicing on Monday. Chuck Pagano listed Mathis at "day-to-day."
- CB-Patrick Robinson (groin): It was a groin injury that kept Robinson on the sidelines against Tennessee two weeks ago. Robinson then returned versus Pittsburgh. The veteran corner did not practice on Monday.
Chuck Pagano on how his team's health has shifted after two games in five days:
"Not great. Not like we (looked) two weeks ago."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Of the seven injuries the Colts had coming into this week, Vontae Davis, T.Y. Hilton and Robert Mathis were the guys not seen at Monday's practice (Denzelle Good was present, but did not practice). That's improved news from where the Colts were leaving Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday night.
The 10 days off from one game to the next (last Thursday versus Pittsburgh to next Monday against the Jets) is what the Colts need right now. These were some really important names on the injury list so the good news specifically on Kelly, Luck, Geathers, Davis and Hilton was big at Monday's bonus practice. The Colts will have their normal off day on Tuesday, before returning to practice Wednesday.
Dwayne Allen on the jumbled AFC South picture with five weeks remaining:
"It's our job to run the table. Point. Blank. Period. In order to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs, we have to run the table.
"You can either be intimidated by that or be excited because that means the coaching staff, the players, are going to give it everything they absolutely have to win a football game. And that's exciting football."
Bowen's Analysis:* *With five weeks left in the regular season, the Colts (5-6), Titans (6-6) and Texans (6-5) are in a very crowded AFC South picture. The Colts do not necessarily have to "run the table," but anything less than a 4-1 record would severely weaken the team's playoff hopes.
First one up in the final handful of games is a Monday night trip to the Jets (3-8). While the Jets are pretty much eliminated from playoff consideration, they had the Patriots in serious trouble late on Sunday. Not looking too far ahead, but when the Colts get back to Indy early next Tuesday morning, their attention will have to rapidly turn to the Texans coming to town on Sunday, Dec. 11.
T.Y. Hilton on his lower back injury improving from last Thursday/Friday:
"I feel way better than I did then. I should be fine. I'll be alright."
Bowen's Analysis: We briefly saw Hilton at Monday's practice, before he headed back inside following the team's walk-through. A back injury in last Thursday's loss to the Steelers took Hilton off the field for good early in the third quarter.
If Hilton can go next Monday, he will see one of the more talented defenses in the NFL. The Jets have a really impressive defensive front. Former All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis has had an up and down season. Last year, the Colts scored just 10 points against the Jets, losing a Week Two Monday night game at Lucas Oil Stadium.