Who's In And Who's Out

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Malik Hooker, Darius Leonard, Tyquan Lewis Ruled Out Against Raiders; T.Y. Hilton Doubtful, Three Questionable

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that safety Malik Hooker (knee), linebacker Darius Leonard (concussion) and defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis (ankle) have been ruled out of Sunday's Week 4 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad), meanwhile, is doubtful, while cornerback Pierre Desir (hamstring), defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (neck) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) are each questionable.

» Hooker suffered a knee injury during last Sunday’s win against the Falcons. He re-entered the game in the second half, but Reich said on Monday that the team expects Hooker to miss “a few weeks” before getting back on the field. That means rookie Khari Willis is expected to step into Hooker’s role at free safety for the next few weeks; the fourth-round pick out of Michigan State has impressed in his first three NFL games, and despite limited snaps, is fifth on the team with 10 total tackles. Rolan Milligan and George Odum could also see added opportunities at the safety position with Hooker out.

» Leonard will miss his second straight game with a concussion. Reich said the All-Pro linebacker began feeling concussion-like symptoms after the Colts’ Week 2 road victory over the Titans, and was subsequently placed in the league’s concussion protocol. With Leonard out last Sunday against the Falcons, Anthony Walker — normally the starter at MIKE linebacker — slid over to Leonard’s WILL linebacker spot, and had a career-best 14 tackles, while rookie Bobby Okereke got his first-career start at MIKE linebacker. Fellow rookie E.J. Speed also saw his first-ever defensive action, as he logged three snaps at SAM linebacker.

» Lewis suffered an ankle injury during the second quarter of last Sunday’s game against the Falcons, and did not return. With Lewis, a versatile second-year lineman, out of the rotation against the Raiders, look for guys like Grover Stewart and Jihad Ward to possibly get added snaps in the defensive interior for the Colts Sunday against the Raiders. The team also has defensive linemen Gerri Green and Brian Price available on the practice squad, if needed.

» Hilton re-aggravated a quad injury late in the second quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Falcons and did not return to the game. He had been a limited participant in all three practices leading up to the Atlanta game and was labeled as questionable heading into the matchup, but was able to log eight catches for 65 yards and his league-leading fourth touchdown reception of the year before exiting. The Colts leaned on the remaining four receivers — Deon Cain, Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers — in the second half of last Sunday’s game, and could do the same moving forward. The team could also make a move to add a receiver before the Raiders game; it has rookie Ashton Dulin and Chad Williams on its practice squad, if needed.

» Desir was initially listed with a hamstring injury on Wednesday’s practice report, and he was a non-participant on Wednesday and Thursday. The sixth-year veteran played all 60 defensive snaps in last Sunday’s Week 3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, after overcoming a knee injury that knocked him out of the previous week’s game against the Tennessee Titans. Should Desir miss Sunday’s game, or be limited in any fashion, the team could turn to rookie Rock Ya-Sin or third-year veteran Quincy Wilson to get added snaps at the cornerback position. Other current options at the cornerback position include Ryan Lewis and rookie Marvell Tell III, who is yet to make his NFL debut.

» Muhammad suffered a stinger during the second quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Falcons, but was eventually able to return, finishing with one tackle — bringing down running back Devonta Freeman for a loss of five yards midway through the third quarter — and also adding a hit on quarterback Matt Ryan. That neck injury, however, kept Muhammad out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Should Muhammad be out or limited Sunday vs. the Raiders, those who could get added snaps at defensive end could include Ben Banogu or Kemoko Turay, while veteran defensive tackles Margus Hunt and Denico Autry also have the ability to play off the edge. (The wild card at defensive end could be Sheard, who underwent a minor knee procedure during training camp and is yet to make his 2019 debut; Sheard returned to practice last week and was a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday.)

» Sheard returned to practice for the first time in nearly two months Sept. 18 after experiencing “soreness and swelling” in his knee during the very first training camp practice on July 25, which was followed up with a minor surgical procedure. The team decided against placing Sheard on injured reserve to open the regular season, which would’ve resulted in him missing at least the first eight weeks; he has since missed the Colts’ first three regular season games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Titans and Falcons. Sheard has been a limited participant in practice since his return, including on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Muhammad has filled in his role at defensive end the first three weeks of the season, but Banogu, Turay or even Hunt or Autry could play added snaps off the edge Sunday against the Raiders. Sheard’s potential return Sunday not only puts one of the Colts’ defensive leaders back on the field, but gives the unit one of the best run defenders in the league; his 7.6 run stop percentage — plays in which he’s earned a “stop,” or a “loss for the defense,” according to Pro Football Focus — ranked 11th among all eligible NFL edge defenders in 2018.

Injury report

Here is Friday's practice report, with their designation for Sunday's game (if applicable):

» DNP: DT/DE Denico Autry (not injury related; rest); T Anthony Castonzo (not injury related; rest); S Clayton Geathers (not injury related; rest); WR T.Y. Hilton (quad; doubtful); S Malik Hooker (knee; out); DE Justin Houston (not injury related; rest); LB Darius Leonard (concussion; out); DT/DE Tyquan Lewis (ankle; out)

» Limited: CB Pierre Desir (hamstring; questionable); DE Jabaal Sheard (knee; questionable)

» Full: C Ryan Kelly (illness); S Rolan Milligan (knee); DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (neck; questionable); RB Jonathan Williams (rib)

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