INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that no players have been ruled out of Sunday's Week 15 matchup against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, tackle Anthony Castonzo and tight end Mo Alie-Cox are questionable, meanwhile.
Punter Rigoberto Sanchez, who has missed the last two games after having surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, is also expected to make his return to game action on Sunday.
» Alie-Cox initially appeared on the injury report on Wednesday with a knee issue, and missed the first two days of practice this week before being upgraded to limited status on Friday. The third-year tight end last Sunday played a season-low 20 offensive snaps in the Colts' Week 14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, although he never exited the game with any announced injuries. A knee injury also forced Alie-Cox to miss the Colts' Week 6 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals and landed him on the injury report the next three weeks, but it's uncertain this current injury is related to that earlier issue. If Alie-Cox is limited or can't play on Sunday, then the team will likely count on Jack Doyle and Trey Burton to play even larger roles; the team also has tight end Farrod Green on its practice squad if needed. Alie-Cox this season has 28 receptions for 360 yards (12.9 avg.) with two touchdowns.
» Buckner initially appeared on the injury report on Thursday with an ankle issue; he was limited in that day's practice and did not practice on Friday. The fifth-year Oregon product has missed just one other game this season, which was back in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, when he was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Buckner has proven to be an All-Pro-type talent in his first season with the Colts; in 12 games played, he has 48 total tackles (six for a loss) with 4.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits, one forced safety, and one forced fumble, fumble recovery and pass defensed apiece. If he is limited or can't play Sunday against the Texans, then Grover Stewart and Taylor Stallworth could be counted on to play larger roles at defensive tackle, while the versatile Denico Autry and Tyquan Lewis could also find themselves lined up inside at the three technique spot more often. The Colts also have three defensive tackles — Kameron Cline, Chris Williams and Rob Windsor — on their practice squad if needed.
» Castonzo suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee early in the second quarter of the Colts' Week 12 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and did not return. The 10th-year veteran would end up missing the following week's road victory over the Texans, but was able to return to the lineup last week against the Las Vegas Raiders; he briefly exited the game in the first quarter but was able to return to play the rest of the game. Castonzo did not practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday. If he is limited or can't play on Sunday at home against the Texans, then the team likely could either utilize reserve Chaz Green at left tackle or they could move Quenton Nelson over from left guard to left tackle; if they did the latter, then 2020 fifth-round pick Danny Pinter could possibly fill in at left guard, or the team could once again elevate fourth-year veteran Joey Hunt from its practice squad to fill in that role.
Here is Friday's practice report, with their designation for Sunday's game (if applicable):
|Denico Autry||DT/DE||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||—|
|T.Y. Hilton||WR||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|
|Julian Blackmon||S||Not Injury Related (Rest)||—||—||DNP||—|