INDIANAPOLIS — While the Indianapolis Colts already know they'll be without two starters in Thursday night's pivotal Week 12 matchup against the Houston Texans, they're still holding out hope that a few other key injured players will be good to go.
Case in point: top cornerback Pierre Desir, who has missed the last four games with a nagging hamstring injury, as well as wide receiver Parris Campbell, who has missed the last two games with a hand injury.
Desir and Campbell were back on the practice field on Monday for the Colts as they held their first of two days of walkthrough practices before traveling to Houston; both were estimated to have been a limited participant if the team had held an actual practice.
Desir suffered, and then played through, his injury back in the Colts' Week 5 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. After the bye week, he was able to play Week 6 against the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium, but he has not been on the field — and has only practiced sparingly — since.
Campbell suffered his hand injury Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After undergoing surgery, the rookie wide receiver was not given an official timetable to return, although he told reporters last week that he was hoping to return to game action by December.
Lots of DNPs
While Desir and Campbell were "limited" on Wednesday, 11 Colts players were labeled as "did not participate:" tight end Mo Alie-Cox (thumb); tackle Anthony Castonzo (toe); tight end Eric Ebron (ankle); safety Clayton Geathers (not injury related; rest); wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf); running back Marlon Mack (hand); safety George Odum (shoulder); cornerback Shakial Taylor (ankle); running back Jordan Wilkins (ankle); safety Khari Willis (concussion); and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle)
Head coach Frank Reich already announced prior to today’s practice that Mack, who fractured his hand and underwent surgery on Monday, and Willis, who started feeling concussion symptoms after Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, are already ruled out Thursday night against the Texans.
Of the rest of the list of players labeled "DNP" on Monday, however, Castonzo, Ebron and Odum are all new additions to the injury list. Alie-Cox, Mack, Taylor and Ya-Sin all suffered their injuries in the Jaguars game and did not return.
The lengthy practice report on Monday is somewhat a product of the very nature of Thursday night games; players that usually get a day or two to nurse their bumps and bruises from their most recent game are instead on the practice field the very next day.
Reich said Monday he doesn't "get caught up too much" in the injury report, especially on a week like this. He believes in every player that will be ready to go Thursday night.
"It's that contrast of, 'Hey you care, really, (a lot), but we've gotta get the guys ready who can play,'" Reich said. "And there's a real strong belief that the guys who can play can win."
Wilkins good to go?
Wilkins suffered an ankle injury in the Colts' Week 10 loss to the Miami Dolphins and didn't return. He said the team decided early last week to sit him out against the Jaguars as a precaution, but that he feels good to go heading into Thursday's game against the Texans.
It's a bit of good timing for the Colts, whose starting running back, Mack, is out indefinitely with a fractured hand.
With Wilkins out against the Jaguars, Jonathan Williams, listed fourth on the unofficial depth chart, was able to step in and produce — a theme that continued when Mack exited the game in the third quarter. In all, Williams ran the ball 13 times for a career-best 116 yards; he also caught one pass for 31 yards, converting a 3rd-and-19, also in the third quarter.
Even without Mack Thursday night, the Colts should have three solid running backs good to go in Wilkins, Williams and Nyheim Hines.
"It's next man up, really," Wilkins said. "That's how we've been going all year, and we have some great running backs from Nyheim, Jonathan, to myself and Marlon, and we've just gotta fill in. Obviously Marlon's down — hopefully he'll recover fast, but we've gotta take over in the meantime."
Hilton, Funchess update
Hilton has been out since suffering a calf injury during a non-contact portion of practice on Oct. 30, and was initially given a three- to four-week recovery timeline.
Thursday night's game against the Texans will have officially been 22 days since he went down with his calf injury.
While Hilton was estimated to be a "DNP" in Monday's walkthrough, the Colts aren't yet counting him out for Thursday night's game. He continues to progress in his work off to the side, Reich said today, and he's already proven he can be effective on gamedays with little to no practice time to prepare.
"I mean, certainly in his career he's proven that he doesn't need to practice, but that's never the optimal situation," Reich told Houston-area reporters in a conference call on Monday. "But he's logged enough miles, as they say, and he's enough of a pro and really smart player that he's proven to be a rare exception in that standpoint."
Another top receiver not being ruled out yet for Thursday? Devin Funchess.
Funchess suffered a broken clavicle back in Week 1 and was placed on injured reserve. He was brought back to practice last Wednesday, setting in motion a 21-day window for the team to decide whether to move him back to the active roster or revert him to IR for the rest of the season.
Funchess told reporters last week his bone still hadn't completely healed — he was wearing a red, no-contact jersey in practice — but Reich said Monday the veteran receiver continues to make positive progress.
"We're just gonna continue to monitor him day by day and see how he does this week," Reich said.
Here's the full injury report from Wednesday's practice:
» DNP: TE Mo Alie-Cox (thumb); T Anthony Castonzo (toe); TE Eric Ebron (ankle); S Clayton Geathers (not injury related; rest); WR T.Y. Hilton (calf); RB Marlon Mack (hand); S George Odum (shoulder); CB Shakial Taylor (ankle); RB Jordan Wilkins (ankle); S Khari Willis (concussion); CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle)
» Limited: WR Parris Campbell (hand); CB Pierre Desir (hamstring)
» Full: N/A