INDIANAPOLIS —Denzelle Good was on the team plane headed back from the Indianapolis Colts' Week 1 game against the Los Angeles Rams when he woke up from a nap and looked down at his right wrist.
"My wrist was like a balloon," Good recalled on Wednesday. "It was just, like, swollen like crazy and I couldn't move it."
Just hours before, Good had started at right tackle for the Colts and played all 50 snaps with the offense, yet he couldn't recall any point in the game in which he had injured his wrist — even in the slightest.
"I watched film about three or four times just trying to find any sign of me hurting it, and I didn't see anything," he said.
Nevertheless, the diagnosis wasn't good for the third-year offensive lineman out of Mars Hill, who had damaged some ligaments in his wrist and needed immediate surgery. Good was placed on the Injured Reserve list on Sept. 13, just three days after the season opener.
Being placed on IR in the NFL used to be a season-ending move, but thanks to a recently-instituted change to the IR rules, Good was confident from the start he could get back on the field for the Colts later this season.
Now, two players per team are eligible to start practicing again as soon as six weeks after being placed on IR during the season; they can be placed back on the active roster as soon as two weeks after they make their return to practice.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Good, whose six-week window on IR ended this week, will return to the practice field for the team in a limited role on Wednesday; Good said he hopes to be back in two weeks for the team's Week 10 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I just want to knock some of the rust off and get back into the flow of things, get used to putting my hands on some pads and used to making some contact with somebody," Good said. "I'm just excited — real excited, real anxious."
Prior to suffering his wrist injury, Good had worked to get himself in the best shape of his playing career — and his coaches noticed, as his added mobility, on top of his strength, helped him win the starting right tackle position coming out of training camp.
He said after all that hard work, it was "devastating" to go down with an injury — particularly one he doesn't even remember suffering — after just one game.
"I worked all offseason trying to win that spot — either right guard or right tackle — and I felt great, and I felt like I played good," he said. "It was just tough to know that I was going into surgery the next week."
Because of the location of his injury, however, Good has been able to maintain a strict workout regimen — "I've been trying to keep my figure," he said with a laugh — so that whenever he does gets back onto the field, the adjustment back to "football shape" wouldn't be as noticeable as if he had injured a knee or an ankle.
"I've been busting my butt these past three weeks," Good said. "I've definitely been trying to stay in shape.
"I feel like anytime anybody gets hurt, the only thing they want to do is to get back onto the field," he continued. "That was my mindset this whole time — I just wanted to get back as soon as possible."