INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts were once again outside at practice on Thursday. Today's news looks at the injuries piling up, the offensive line playing better and the Chiefs getting Justin Houston back to practice.
Take a look below at the top pieces fromFriday, December 20th.**Ten players miss Colts practice**By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
A total of 10 Colts found themselves under the "Did Not Practice" listing on the team's injury report Thursday.
"It's a daily grind," admitted General Manager Ryan Grigson. "Sometimes you've got to plug-and-play. That's what we're doing."
According to the NFL, the Colts have used a league-high 71 players this season. The Chiefs have used 59. The most players used by a team since 1993: Jacksonville, with 75 in each of the past two seasons.
Forty-two players have started at least one game. The Colts have used six offensive line combinations and had eight running backs on the active roster.
"Everybody has injuries. No one is going to feel sorry for you," Grigson said. "Every day, you have to find a way.
"That's why we have scouting departments and that's why we pay guys to advance scout and go to games and drive all over creation. It's the job of the scouting department to supply the coaches with players that are capable of winning."
**Colts offensive line success: Trend or anomaly?**By: Stephen Holder, Indy StarThe Colts offensive line is battling injuries this week but it's what they've shown lately that has them building momentum down the stretch.
But take a close look at the past two games — albeit a small sample — and you can see momentum. Against the Bengals on Dec. 8, Luck was not sacked for only the second time in his two-year career and the first time this season. Luck was able to comfortably work the pocket and deliver crisp passes down the field in a 326-yard passing effort.
Then, against Houston last Sunday, the Colts had their best rushing performance in 10 games, the 152 yards their most since 157 at Jacksonville on Sept. 29. The linemen controlled the line of scrimmage, something that has been lacking except in small doses.
So, again, trend or anomaly?
"I just think we really just reestablished our goals, reiterated where we want to be and really picked up our tempo in practice and in the games," left guard Hugh Thornton said. "I think it felt for a long time like we were waiting for someone else to make a play. I think we realize now that we're a good enough group and a good enough team. There's just a whole new level of belief and confidence.
"It's like we've got a second wind."
**Justin Houston moves closer to returning to action for Chiefs**By: Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star
It sounds like the Chiefs could get their leading sacker back this weekend in outside linebacker Justin Houston.
Houston lined up with the starters during positional drills in practice on Thursday. He was first in line to hit the blocking sled, which was an indication Houston has confidence in his right elbow that was dislocated against San Diego on Nov. 24.
All Houston needs is a green light from the team doctors and coach Andy Reid to play on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs listed Houston's participation in practice on Thursday as "limited."
"He's practicing and he's in a lot of the drills and has worked with the first group," said defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. "It's just day to day and drill to-drill, but it's great to see him out there.
"The thing I really appreciate about Justin is he's practicing like he's trying to play. Hopefully we can get him in. He would be a great boost for us."