INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts celebrated Labor Day on Monday with their official start to the 2018 regular season, putting in their first preparations for Sunday's 2018 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts held a light practice session on Monday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, though several key players who had been battling injuries of varying degrees did make their returns to the field for the early portion of the session that was available to be seen by the media.
Those returning to practice on Monday included quarterback Andrew Luck (foot), cornerback Nate Hairston (hamstring), cornerback Quincy Wilson (hand), linebacker Anthony Walker (groin) and defensive tackle/end Denico Autry (ankle).
There were a few notable players still missing on Monday, though, including running back Marlon Mack (hamstring), linebacker Darius Leonard (lower leg) and tackles Denzelle Good (knee) and Anthony Castonzo (hamstring). Because Monday's practice is more a light session, however, keep an eye out for Wednesday's practice — when an official injury report is expected to be released by the team — to see if any of these players are able to eventually return, perhaps in time for the Bengals game.
Also not out at practice on Monday was defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis, but Colts general manager Chris Ballard said on Sunday that Lewis is going to be placed on injured reserve with a toe injury.
Other observations from Monday's practice:
— While Wilson was able to return to the practice field on Monday, he was wearing a club-like cast on his right hand. These are common among players who suffer hand injuries during the season — remember former Colts cornerback/safety Darius Butler wore one against the Houston Texans in 2016 — but Wilson will likely hope to utilize these next few days of practice to try to get used to the cast as much as possible.
— Those returning punts in an early drill: Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton.
— After stretching and an early special teams drill, the staff formed two lines wearing or holding various pads as various ballcarriers made their way through in a ball protection drill. This "gauntlet" type drill where the staffers are using their pads to try to do anything to jar the football loose was used on a few occasions during training camp.
— There were a few uniform number changes or assignments for some players on Monday:
- Wide receiver Marcus Johnson has been assigned No. 16.
- Safety Corey Moore has been assigned No. 36.
- Defensive end Al-Quandin Muhammad has been assigned No. 97.
- Running back Jordan Wilkins, who was wearing No. 30, is now wearing No. 20.
- Linebacker Zaire Franklin, who was wearing No. 97, is now wearing No. 44.
- Linebacker Skai Moore, who was wearing No. 48, is now wearing No. 55.
- Wide receiver Steve Ishmael, who was wearing No. 3, has changed to No. 17 for the Colts' practice squad.