INDIANAPOLIS — In February, Henry Anderson hoped he could be fully recovered from a torn ACL by the Colts' Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions.
On Wednesday, team owner Jim Irsay said the team is still hopeful for an early-season recovery for Anderson, but a Week 1 return — which would be about 10 months after suffering the injury — might be a little too optimistic at this point of time for the second-year defensive tackle.
"Obviously we're looking for Henry Anderson to come back, and he's been progressing from that injury," Irsay told reporters at the Colts' open minicamp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium. "It may not be for Week 1, but we certainly hope it's going to be early-season."
Anderson suffered the injury in the Colts' Week 9 27-24 victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium. At the time, Anderson was piecing together a Defensive Rookie of the Year-type campaign; in nine starts, he had racked up 35 tackles, a sack and two passes defensed.
"I was pretty disappointed because I felt like I was improving throughout the year and some of the stuff that I wasn't doing at the beginning of the year I was getting better at as time went on," Anderson told Colts.com in February.
Though the team is eagerly awaiting Anderson's return, Irsay said the key will be not to rush him back.
"He was a big loss for us last year, as you all know," Irsay said.
Jones 'has something to prove'
Another big loss for the Indianapolis defensive line last season was Arthur Jones, who missed the entire 2015 season after suffering an ankle injury during the team's third preseason game.
Art Jones in action during the 2014 season.
Jones has been sitting out the team's offseason program this year as he continues to fully rehab that ankle, and Irsay said the seventh-year Syracuse product is "working hard" to get back to the field, perhaps by Week 1 (though he could get back on the practice field during training camp).
"He's a warrior," Irsay said. "You know, he knows that he's disappointed and feels like he has something to prove."
Irsay talked of the "big investment" the team made in Jones two years ago, when the team signed the free agent to a reported five-year deal worth more than $30 million.
At the time, Jones was coming off collecting 100 tackles and 8.5 sacks in his previous two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
Jones played in nine games in 2014, his first season with the Colts. He had 23 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
"We know that he has the talent," Irsay said of Jones, who just turned 30 on June 3. "He still has age on his side, and sometimes when these injuries come, you just have to really have positive thinking, and feel like, 'That will not happen again, and I'm ready to go.'"