INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts received some good news on Sunday, when they learned that starting left guard Jack Mewhort — who was feared to have torn his ACL on Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles — would actually be able to return to the team within two to four weeks.
That timetable, however, means that Mewhort could miss at least the first week or two of the regular season, giving the Colts a major decision to make at that spot along the offensive line.
After Saturday's game, head coach Chuck Pagano mentioned Jonotthan Harrison as a potential replacement for Mewhort. Harrison, who has started 19 games at center for Indianapolis the past two seasons, has been getting reps at guard both in practices and in preseason games, and said he'd be ready to go if called upon at left guard for the starting unit.
"If they ask me to go there, I'll be more than happy to go there, play some left guard and give it my all," Harrison told Colts.com after Saturday's game.
Versatility along the offensive line has been a key point of emphasis for first-year position coach Joe Philbin, who has been preparing his players all offseason for this very scenario.
Harrison said he's appreciated that approach, which has kept every offensive lineman on their toes during practices and meetings.
"He consistently moves people around during practice so everyone gets a little bit of work everywhere," Harrison said of Philbin. "And in meetings, he'll randomly call on people to maybe answer a question on a position they don't typically play, just to ensure that you're paying attention and that you will be ready when your number is called."
Highlights from the Eagles game.
Pagano also said some other temporary shuffling along the starting offensive line could be necessary, as right tackle Joe Reitz continues to be bothered by tightness in his back.
Reitz was held out of Saturday's game against the Eagles; in his place was rookie Le'Raven Clark out of Texas Tech.
Another option for the Colts along the line could be rookie Joe Haeg, though he has also been battling the injury bug lately, having suffered an ankle injury in the Colts' preseason Week 2 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
When healthy, Haeg, who is listed as "week-to-week," according to Pagano, could be considered the team's top reserve at the left and right tackle and left and right guard spots.
The good news for the Colts is they have a little time to determine what the plan is at the left guard and right tackle spots. The team has 13 days until it takes the field for its regular season opener against the Detroit Lions.
"(Harrison) has played in there (and) has position flex which is good," Pagano said of the left guard spot. "There are a number of things that we will look at. … We won't say anything right now one way or another whether we move (Harrison) there or put somebody else at right tackle. We have to see how fast Joe Reitz is going to be back and where his status is."