INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts will get a few days off this week to recharge their batteries.
But at least one player will be approaching the "bye week" as if he's still preparing for battle on Sunday.
Colts defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis is sticking around the team's Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center complex this week, where he will work extensively with the strength and conditioning staff as he continues to try to make the transition from injured reserve to the active roster as soon as possible.
That's the update from Colts general manager Chris Ballard, who said the best-case scenario would include Lewis being able to make his NFL debut by Indy's Week 11 matchup against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"This off-week, he'll work with our strength and conditioning staff, and they'll put him through three full days of hard work to really work on getting his conditioning back up," Ballard said in an appearance "Colts Roundtable Live" on 1070 The Fan. "And then we'll hit him that next week to see where he's at and if he's ready to move up after the Jacksonville game (Week 10)."
Lewis, a talented, versatile defensive lineman taken in the second round (64th overall) of this year's NFL draft, was just starting to get into the rotation during training camp when he suffered a toe injury prior to the team's first preseason game on Aug. 9. Placed on IR at the beginning of the regular season, Ballard had previously said the hope was that Lewis would be a prime candidate to be one of two players the team is allowed to return from IR later in the year.
Lewis, indeed, returned to practice last Wednesday, setting in motion a 21-day window that the team can utilize to get him back up to speed. If he's deemed ready to go by the end of the three weeks, Lewis can be brought to the active roster; if he isn't, then he reverts to IR for the rest of the season.
If he is able to eventually return, Ballard sees Lewis initially as a quality piece of depth that can make plays both inside and off the edge for the Colts' defensive line.
But, ultimately, Lewis is viewed as a coveted prospect inside at the three technique spot.
"He was a defensive end in college, but they also slid him down inside to the three (technique), and we ultimately think that's going to be his best position in the system, as an upfield disruptive three technique," Ballard said. "We'll probably play in him both spots here early — 'cause he does have some position flexibility — but, look, we're high on Tyquan. We moved up in the second round to get him. It's unfortunate that he had the injury, but he looked good last week in practice, and we expect big things of him when we get him up the roster."