INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that four players — tackle Anthony Castonzo, linebacker Bobby Okereke, punter Rigoberto Sanchez and safety Khari Willis — have been ruled out of Sunday's Week 13 matchup against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
Two players — tackle Chaz Green and tight end Noah Togiai — are questionable.
» Castonzo suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee early in the second quarter of last Sunday's Week 12 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and did not return. The 10th-year veteran did not participate in practice this week; Reich had said Wednesday that there really won't be a set timetable for Castonzo's potential return until he can really test his knee out. "This guy is a finely tuned athlete," Reich said. "He knows his body so we will trust him, the doctors and the trainers. (We're) just kind of giving him the freedom to test this thing out as he sees fit and how he feels. We've just decided not to lock ourselves in to any formula other than, 'Hey, you just keep pushing it a little bit every day.' There is no reason to say, 'This is going to be one week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks.' There is just no reason to say that so let's not put ourselves in a box. Let's just keep working at it as you can and try to get a little bit better every day." The Colts last Sunday utilized fifth-year veteran Le'Raven Clark in Castonzo's place at left tackle; depending on his status, the team also has Chaz Green available to play tackle, while rookie guard/center Danny Pinter, who played right tackle in college at Ball State, could possibly be available outside if needed. Other possible options include practice squad offensive linemen Carter O'Donnell or Jake Eldrenkamp.
» Okereke first appeared on the injury report with an ankle issue on Nov. 25, and would end up missing the entire week of practice before being ruled out of last Sunday's Week 12 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Okereke did not practice again on Wednesday or Thursday. With Okereke ruled out once again Sunday against the Texans, then the Colts could once again elect to add more to fellow starter Anthony Walker's plate — Walker played 100 percent of the defensive snaps last Sunday against the Titans — while Zaire Franklin, Matthew Adams, E.J. Speed and Jordan Glasgow will also be ready to go at the linebacker position if needed.
» Sanchez publicly revealed Monday that he had been diagnosed with cancer; he reported on Tuesday that the surgery to remove a cancerous tumor had "went well." Reich said earlier in the week that there isn't a set timetable for Sanchez's potential return; the team on Thursday signed eighth-year veteran punter Ryan Allen to its practice squad.
» Willis exited last Sunday's game against the Titans with back and quad injuries and didn't return. The second-year safety out of Michigan State would end up missing the first two days of practice this week, as well. With Willis ruled out Sunday against the Texans, then Tavon Wilson — who played 13 defensive snaps in Willis' place last Sunday, and George Odum will be counted on to step up at the safety position. The Colts also have six-year veteran safety Ibraheim Campbell on their practice squad if needed.
» Green initially appeared on the injury report Wednesday with a back issue; he didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday. The fourth-year tackle/guard two weeks ago played 62 offensive snaps at right tackle in place of the then-injured Braden Smith in the Colts' Week 11 win over the Green Bay Packers, and then played one offensive snap — as an inline tight end — and two special teams snaps last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. If Green is limited or can't play Sunday against the Texans, then rookie guard/center Danny Pinter, who played right tackle in college at Ball State, could possibly be available outside if needed behind Le'Raven Clark, or the team could elevate Carter O'Donnell and/or Jake Eldrenkamp from its practice squad.
» Togiai first appeared on the injury report Friday, when he was limited with a knee issue. The undrafted Oregon State product has appeared in four games this season and has played 79 total snaps, including 72 on offense and seven on special teams. If Togiai can't play or is limited Sunday against the Texans, then the team will continue to lean on Jack Doyle, Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox at the tight end position.
Here is Friday's practice report, with their designation for Sunday's game (if applicable):
|Trey Burton||TE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||DNP||FP||FP||—|
|Justin Houston||DE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||DNP||FP||FP||—|
|Jack Doyle||TE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||DNP||FP||—|
|Mo Alie-Cox||TE||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|Julian Blackmon||S||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|T.Y. Hilton||WR||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|