INDIANAPOLIS — Thanks (or no thanks) to injuries, the Indianapolis Colts head into a short week with a few key unknowns in their lineup as they begin preparations for Thursday night's game against the New England Patriots.
Will their top wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton, quickly be able to overcome the chest and hamstring injuries that eventually knocked him out of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans?
Will Darius Leonard, the defense's top playmaker through the first four games, be able to shake off an ankle injury in time to play against Tom Brady and the defending AFC champions?
The Colts today held a walkthrough session at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, but released an estimation of the injury report if the team had held an actual practice. That list includes:
DNP: TE Jack Doyle (hip); 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); CB Quincy Wilson (concussion)
Limited: T Anthony Castonzo (hamstring); S Clayton Geathers (knee); RB Marlon Mack (hamstring)
Full: TE Eric Ebron (knee); S Malik Hooker (hip); K Adam Vinatieri (right groin); LB Anthony Walker (knee)
» Hilton suffered a chest injury in the first half of Sunday's game against the Texans, but was eventually able to return to the field. He then suffered a hamstring injury that prevented him from returning once again, however, and head coach Frank Reich indicated after the game that Hilton's odds of playing Thursday, on a short week, were "probably not good."
» Despite suffering his ankle injury during Sunday's game, Leonard played all but one defensive snap. The rookie linebacker, who had 13 tackles (one for a loss) and a sack against the Texans, continues to lead the league in tackles and also has four sacks on the season.
» Moore II, one of the top team's top cornerbacks, did not return on Sunday after suffering a concussion. Chances are likely slim that he'd be able to move his way through the league's concussion protocol to be cleared by Thursday night's game.
Other key injuries to keep an eye on throughout the week are Castonzo and Mack, both of whom have been dealing with nagging hamstring injuries for weeks. Both players returned to the practice field last week, but were held out of Sunday's game against the Texans.
Doyle, meanwhile, continues to deal with a hip injury suffered Week 2 against the Washington Redskins. The Pro Bowl tight end has missed consecutive games for the first time in his career.
"I realize it was a pretty aggressive call. (I) obviously thought a lot about it in the last 24 hours and still feel really good about the decision. I understand the other side of that decision … but in my mind, right now we're the best team in the NFL on third down. We're really good at converting those. So that's No. 1. Our quarterback was on fire. That's No. 2. Our offense was on fire. I didn't feel like they could stop us. So that was a big factor. If we convert, we're gonna have to use a timeout, and we're gonna be on the minus-49 with 23 seconds to go and no timeouts. I just saw Vinny make a 65-yarder in practice with room to spare. So in my mind we only need 10 more yards, and we have 23 seconds. I got all kinds of options." — Colts head coach Frank Reich, on looking back at his choice to go for it on 4th and 4 from Indy's 43-yard line late in overtime on Sunday. Andrew Luck's pass attempt was incomplete, and the Texans eventually kicked a game-winning 37-yard field goal as time expired.