INDIANAPOLIS —This definitely wasn't the plan.
The Indianapolis Colts headed into Saturday's Week 3 preseason matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles needing to stay as healthy as possible, as the team already faced major injury issues to several key players, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
At cornerback specifically, the Colts entered the Eagles game with five players at the position already nicked up, including starters Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson, as well as Jalil Brown, D'Joun Smith and Tevin Mitchel.
But the hits kept coming for the Colts on Saturday, as another cornerback, Darius Butler, went down with an ankle injury on Philadelphia's second drive of the game.
The team's issues were compounded when starting left guard Jack Mewhort suffered what could be a serious knee injury late in the first half.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported after the game that Mewhort "is believed to have torn his ACL" and could be done for the season. After the game, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Mewhort will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
Pagano did not have any further update on Butler's injury status after the game. The eighth-year corner — who had an interception in Saturday's game prior to suffering his ankle injury — did talk to reporters, saying he's counting on his remaining cornerbacks to "step up and make plays."
"We are banged up back in the secondary, especially at the cornerback position," Butler said. "That's the NFL — injuries happen. We just have to make plays and move forward."
Earlier in the week, Pagano had classified the Colts’ situation at cornerback as “scary” after announcing the team's top corner, Davis, would be "week-to-week" with a medial sprain (ankle). This after No. 2 cornerback, Robinson, went down with a groin injury in the team's preseason Week 2 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, though his return status is believed to be a little more optimistic.
The Colts have also been without cornerbacks Brown (foot), Smith (knee) and Mitchel (hamstring), and on Monday, the team signed 32-year-old free agent Antonio Cromartie, who is expected to be ready to go by the team's Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 11.
As for Mewhort, if his injury is indeed confirmed to be serious in nature, several candidates could be called upon to take the starting spot at left guard, including Jonotthan Harrison and rookie Joe Haeg.
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo said, "I'd be lying if I said I personally am not going to miss (Mewhort) next to me," but is confident the Colts' "next-man-up" approach, if needed, will pay off.
"We've got a lot of guys who can play really good football, as you saw at the end of the game when our twos were in there playing good football," Castonzo said of Saturday's Eagles game. "So we've got guys who can step in and get the job done."
Asked if he felt the preseason was too big of an injury risk for players, Castonzo said he "doesn't really subscribe" to that theory.
"You have to play in the preseason, because otherwise you're not going to be prepared for that first game. I mean, guys have to get out there and play," Castonzo said. "Injuries are part of the game — every time you step foot on the field, you risk getting injured … Guys need to get out on the field and get used to playing at game speed."