INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts are beginning the process of replacing two key members of their defense.
The team announced today that it was placing defensive tackle Henry Anderson on Injured Reserve, ending his season; earlier in the day, the Colts released cornerback Vontae Davis.
In other roster news on Thursday, the Colts elevated wide receiver Matt Hazel to the 53-man roster from the practice squad and signed wide receiver KeVonn Mabon to the practice squad. The team also activated tackle/guard Denzelle Good from IR.
Anderson suffered — and then played through — a throat injury during last Sunday's 20-14 victory over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Anderson has been diagnosed with a "laryngeal fracture," and will undergo a procedure on Friday.
For Anderson, it's the second time in his three-year career that he's been placed on IR after Week 9; a torn ACL ended his promising rookie season in 2015.
The Stanford product was playing perhaps the best football of his career this time around, collecting a sack and a forced fumble three weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars, seven tackles (one for a loss) with another sack and a blocked field goal two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals and, despite suffering his throat injury early in last Sunday's game, he played 62 defensive snaps and had three tackles (one for a loss) and a quarterback hit.
Anderson ends his third NFL season with 19 tackles (four for a loss), two sacks, seven quarterback hits and a forced fumble. The team has a couple immediate options to replace him in the starting lineup moving forward, including Margus Hunt and Hassan Ridgeway.
At cornerback, the Colts will likely move forward with Rashaan Melvin and fourth-year veteran Pierre Desir at the two outside cornerback spots, while rookie Nate Hairston will remain at the nickel cornerback position.
Desir, who has started the last two games in place of Melvin (concussion) and Davis (coach's decision), has 14 tackles and four passes defensed in six games this season. Head coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday that Desir has proven to be "very, very competitive."
"He's long, he's athletic. He's got good ball skills. He's aggressive, he's got confidence – all the things that you look for in a corner," Pagano said. "Obviously, he's taken advantage of this opportunity. He's played well."
Other possibilities at the cornerback position include Chris Milton, Kenny Moore II and D.J. White, a sixth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2016 NFL Draft who was claimed off waivers by the Colts on Monday.