INDIANAPOLIS — Darius Butler says he has two recurring nightmares that, almost without fail, go through his head while he's sleeping on Fridays and Saturdays during the football season.
The first one involves him oversleeping and missing a game.
The second one involves Butler intercepting a pass and then blowing out his hamstring on the return.
One of those two nightmares ended up playing out Sunday in the Indianapolis Colts' Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium — and it had nothing to do with his alarm clock.
At the 6:28 mark in the second quarter, Butler made an impressive play to pick off a Trevor Siemian screen pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders around the Indianapolis 26-yard line, and had nothing but green, green grass in front of him.
But only a few steps into his return, Butler knew something was wrong, falling to the ground and securing the ball.
Although he was able to jog off the field under his own power, the prognosis was a pulled hamstring, and he would miss the rest of the game.
"Man, it was like a dream and a nightmare all in a matter of three seconds," Butler said of the play on Tuesday in an appearance on 1070 The Fan.
The dream was a result of Butler's knowledge and football instincts. He was originally supposed to blitz on the play — a 1st and 10 for the Broncos at the Indianapolis 20-yard line — but once Sanders went into motion, Butler's whole approach changed.
"It was kind of one of those things that you see on film that you had seen before, that you just kind of react to it," Butler said.
Butler made an athletic play to jump in the air and reach back to intercept the pass, but it didn't take long for the play to turn into a nightmare, although Butler said at the very least, he was satisfied he was able to get the ball back to his offense.
"It was one of plays that, you know, it can change a game around, obviously, any time a defensive or special teams score goes on the board, it ups your chances of winning a lot," he said. " So it sucks from that standpoint. I'm glad I still got the ball in (Andrew) Luck's hands again, though."
Butler said that he's expecting to miss the Colts' Week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium, but hopes to be ready to go for the trip to London for the Week 4 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
His game on Sunday against the Broncos was his first of the season after he injured his ankle in the team's third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, although rather than attributing the hamstring injury to his body overcompensating for his recovering ankle, Butler considered it more of "one of those freak things that happened at a very, very unfortunate time."
"You have an injury somewhere else, and that's what your body does — it compensates and does different things for it," Butler said. "But I felt like I did everything I possibly could leading up to the game as far as treatment, hydration, stretching — everything I usually do."
Butler's injury came with terrible timing in the game for the Colts, who have seen several members of the secondary already go down with nagging injuries during the preseason and the early portion of the regular season.
But the team is hoping to get at least one major contributor — No. 2 cornerback Patrick Robinson (concussion) — back for the Chargers game, while two others — No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle) and safety T.J. Green (knee) — are hoping to, at the very least, return to the practice field this week.
"I've been on teams where an injury bug hit a team, but never just one specific group," Butler said of the rash of injuries in the Colts' secondary. "But we'll find a way to get it done. We've got a lot of games ahead of us — we've got a huge one coming up this week at home, and we've got to figure out a way to get a W."