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Colts Daily Notebook: Leonard, Hooker, Geathers And More Return To Practice

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts’ injury report has been lengthy the last couple weeks, but with only a few of those players having what might be considered more serious “week-to-week” recovery timelines, it was only been a matter of time before a good number of those injured players started working their way back to the practice field.

Accordingly, the Colts this week have seen a true influx of players making their returns, with Thursday’s practice being the most significant example yet, as four starters — one on offense and three on defense — were back out on the field.

Those returning Thursday on the first chilly day of the fall were tackle/guard Denzelle Good, linebacker Darius Leonard and safeties Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker.

Another starter, linebacker Anthony Walker, who suffered a concussion in last week’s game against the New England Patriots, was also in his traditional practice jersey and out of the non-contact jersey, which he was wearing on Wednesday.

» Good had been away from the team for about a week as he spent time with his family in South Carolina following the tragic death of his brother, Overton. The fourth-year Mars Hill product was back at the Colts’ facility on Wednesday, but did not participate in practice. He had started at right tackle in the team’s Week 4 matchup against the Houston Texans, and could very well be in line to be the starter there moving forward. Good was a full participant on Thursday.

» Leonard suffered an ankle injury in that Week 4 game against the Texans, but would miss just one defensive snap on the afternoon. He tested out his ankle prior to last Thursday’s game against the Patriots, but was eventually ruled out. Leonard — the NFL’s leader in tackles — did not practice on Wednesday, but has told reporters this week that he feels he should be ready to go for this Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Leonard was listed as a limited participant on Thursday.

» Geathers suffered a neck injury and a concussion last week against the Patriots, and because the safety had a previous serious neck injury and subsequent surgery two years ago, the team has been playing it extra safe. Geathers is the Colts’ second-leading tackler on the year. Geathers was listed as a limited participant on Thursday.

» Hooker played the entire game against the Patriots, but did not practice on Wednesday with what was classified as a back injury. His return, along with Geathers’, signals a positive sign for a safety position that is also without Matthias Farley (shoulder/groin/wrist). Hooker was listed as a full participant on Thursday.

The Colts on Wednesday saw the return of Kenny Moore II and Quincy Wilson (concussions), as well as defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (calf), so it appears that lengthy injury report is slowly but surely shrinking in size.

Those who remained out on Thursday: defensive tackle/end Denico Autry (hamstring), tight end Jack Doyle (hip), tight end Eric Ebron (shin/quad/ankle/knee), Farley (hamstring), wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring), defensive tackle Margus Hunt (knee) and center Ryan Kelly (calf).

New center?

Thursday was the second straight missed practice for Kelly.

Could that signal the possibility of a new center in the Colts’ lineup on Sunday against the Jets?

Perhaps Evan Boehm, signed off the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad on Monday, could be a possible fill-in. Boehm was a three-year starter at center during his college days at Missouri, and has exposure to the position at the NFL level, though he’s mostly been utilized as a guard.

Then there’s practice squad guard Sean Harlow, who could be another possibility if Kelly can’t play.

Both Boehm and Harlow were seen snapping to quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett at the start of Thursday’s practice.

Thanks to the injury situation, the Colts could trot out any number of offensive line combinations on Sunday against the Jets.

Will Anthony Castonzo make his 2018 debut at left tackle? Or will Le’Raven Clark be back at that spot for a fourth time this season?

Left guard is good, but what about the aforementioned center position if Kelly can’t play?

With Matt Slauson now on IR, does Braden Smith automatically fill in at right guard? Or did the team like his performance at right tackle against the Patriots enough to keep him at that spot? What does that mean for Good? And could Mark Glowinski get an opportunity at right guard if Smith is at right tackle?

Notable quotable

“I think he’s just growing. He’s just growing as we go. You know, he’s been our middle-field guy and our half-safety guy, and he’s just growing as we go. I think he’s gonna get a little bit more confidence as he goes coming off that injury that he had, and the more confidence he has, I think, he’s going to make a lot more plays as the season goes. So I’m excited to see where he is — he’s made good progress to this point.” — Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus on the performance of safety Malik Hooker through five weeks.

Injury report

Here’s Thursday’s full practice report:

» DNP: DT/DE Denico Autry (hamstring); TE Jack Doyle (hip); TE Eric Ebron (shin/quadricep/ankle/knee); S Matthias Farley (shoulder/groin/wrist); WR T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring); DT Margus Hunt (knee); C Ryan Kelly (calf)

» Limited: S Clayton Geathers (concussion/neck); LB Darius Leonard (ankle)

» Full: T Anthony Castonzo (hamstring); T/G Denzelle Good (not injury related); CB Nate Hairston (ankle); S Malik Hooker (back); RB Marlon Mack (hamstring); S Mike Mitchell (pectoral); CB Kenny Moore II (concussion); DT Hassan Ridgeway (calf); LB Anthony Walker (concussion); CB Quincy Wilson (concussion)

— Geathers and Leonard, who did not practice on Wednesday, were new to the limited list on Thursday.

— Good, Hairston, Hooker and Walker were each new to the full list. Mitchell, meanwhile, was a new addition to the injury report, although he was listed as a full participant, as well.

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