*INDIANAPOLIS – *A handful of days before Training Camp opens for the 2017 Colts, they were dealt some serious injury news.
Clayton Geathers will miss at least the first six games of the 2017 regular season as he recovers from March neck surgery.
On Monday, GM Chris Ballard said the team will place Geathers on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) to start the ‘17 regular season.
“A lot of this with Geathers is just the healing process,” Ballard said. “He’s in a good frame mentally. He’s worked hard and he’s done everything from a rehab standpoint.
“I think once we get into September and October it’ll really start ramping up for him.”
Geathers on PUP means the third-year safety must sit out the first six weeks of the season.
After that, the Colts will have three weeks whether to decide if Geathers can return to practice. Once Geathers does begin practicing, the Colts will have another three weeks to deem if he should be activated to the team’s 53-man roster or be placed on injured reserve.
With Geathers sidelined until at least mid-October, the Colts will have some questions to answer at safety.
First-round pick Malik Hooker is healthy and will be participating at the start of Training Camp.
Veteran Darius Butler was a starter at safety throughout the team’s offseason program (when both Hooker and Geathers were sidelined).
“I think having both Malik (Hooker) and (Darius) Butler out there gives you some flexibility out there on defense to be able to match up against spread formations,” Ballard said.
Second-year safeties Matthias Farley and T.J. Green are also in the mix for playing time at safety.
The loss of Geathers will impact how defensive coordinator Ted Monachino is able to handle his sub packages. Geathers, easily the most physical of the Colts’ safeties, excelled as a dime linebacker last year.
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