*INDIANAPOLIS — *The Indianapolis Colts stepped on the brakes a little bit on Tuesday, just two days before they take on the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
Head coach Frank Reich decided to hold a walkthrough instead of an actual practice for a second straight day, as his team continues to recover from Sunday’s overtime loss to the Houston Texans.
That means the Colts won’t have the benefit of an actual practice prior to Thursday night’s game — a risk Reich was more than willing to take in the name of his players’ well-being.
“Originally we thinking about going to practice, but given the short week and the amount of plays (with) the overtime, (it’s) most important to take care of the guys physically and just really get focused in mentally on what we’re gonna do. So looking forward to getting on the road, and a good test ahead of us.”
For a second straight day, because of the walkthrough, the team released a injury report that’s an estimation of the players’ participation if there was a practice on that day. Several key names were designated as “did not practice” on Tuesday. Here’s the full list:
» DNP: TE Jack Doyle (hip); S Clayton Geathers (knee); T Denzelle Good (not injury related); CB Nate Hairston (ankle); WR T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring); C Ryan Kelly (hand); LB Darius Leonard (ankle); CB Kenny Moore II (concussion); DT Hassan Ridgeway (calf); K Adam Vinatieri (right groin); CB Quincy Wilson (concussion)
» Limited: T Anthony Castonzo (hamstring); RB Marlon Mack (hamstring)
» Full: TE Eric Ebron (knee); S Malik Hooker (hip); LB Anthony Walker (knee)
Because of the short week, Reich said playing decisions on a lot of the players listed above will have to be more gametime-based decisions. The team should release an official “out/doubtful/questionable” list tomorrow.
“Just really trying to get a handle on how quickly guys can recover — who will be ready, and who won’t,” Reich said.
Perhaps the biggest name on that injury list is the Colts’ top wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton, who initially suffered a chest injury on Sunday against the Texans, was able to return, but then later suffered a hamstring injury and did not make his way back to the field.
If Hilton can’t play on Thursday — the four-time Pro Bowler has sat out just two games over his seven-year NFL career, and hasn’t missed a game since 2015 — Reich is confident those behind him can step up and make plays. On Sunday against the Texans, backup receivers Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson combined to catch 16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.
“As far as gameplanning, we have a lot of confidence in the next guy up,” Reich said. “I think that showed this past week; when T.Y. went out, we still were able to move the ball well. Credit to the guys, and really the whole offense did a good job — Andrew (Luck) did a phenomenal job of creating plays and getting the ball to those players.
“So we’ll miss T.Y., but at the same time, you’ve just got to have the next-man-up mentality.”
Also, with Denzelle Good out on Tuesday, the team was utilizing rookie Braden Smith with the first team at right tackle during the early portion of the walkthrough available to be seen by the media.
Smith — selected as a guard in the second round of this year's draft out of Auburn — was a starter Week 1 against the Bengals as the tackle-eligible player on the first play of the game, and has played 10 snaps with the offense in all, being utilized as tackle-eligible for nine of them and lining up at right tackle on the other play.
Those new to the DNP list on Tuesday included safety Clayton Geathers — who was listed as limited as an estimation on Monday — and kicker Adam Vinatieri — who was listed as full on Monday.
Center Ryan Kelly, who did stretch on Tuesday, had a wrap on his right hand. Cornerback Nate Hairston (right foot) and linebacker Darius Leonard (left foot) were each seen wearing protective boots on the sideline on Tuesday.
“I think we all heard that comment. I chuckled. I’ve grown to know Chris very well. From Day 1, I’ve really appreciated him. He’s been honest and communicative and, I think, a great leader for this building. And so that was his authentic self coming, and that made me happy. I love when you get to see authenticity from people, especially your leaders in this building.” — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, on if he heard general manager Chris Ballard’s “the rivalry is back on” comment about the Patriots back in February.