INDIANAPOLIS —One of the NFL's top defensive units just got even better.
Defensive end Kemoko Turay, who has been out for more than a year as he's worked his way back from a severe ankle injury, is officially active and could make his 2020 season debut for the Indianapolis Colts today in their Week 11 matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Also active for the Colts today is tight end Jack Doyle, while right tackle Braden Smith, who initially appeared on the injury report Thursday with a thumb issue, is inactive.
Cornerback and kickoff returner Isaiah Rodgers and tight end Noah Togiai, both of whom were also questionable heading into today's game with knee injuries, are officially inactive today; others inactive for the Colts include linebacker Matthew Adams, defensive end Ben Banogu, quarterback Jacob Eason and wide receiver Dezmon Patmon.
» Turay spent the first 10 weeks of the season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, as he worked his way back from a season-ending ankle injury suffered Week 5 last year against the Kansas City Chiefs. Turay was officially brought back to the Colts' active roster earlier this week, and was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and did not practice on Friday.
Turay is likely the Colts' top speed rusher off the edge, and was just beginning to blossom early last season when he suffered his season-ending injury; at the time Turay was tied with T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the best PFF grade among any edge defender in the NFL (91.3), and his pass-rush grade of 91.0 trailed only Watt and the Cleveland Browns' Myles Garrett. Turay stood alone atop the Pass Rushing Productivity category, with his 13.1 ranking handily above the next-best player's 10.6.
While Turay could make his 2020 debut today, head coach Frank Reich has said he'll likely be on a pitch count as he continues to get back into game shape.
But whether he logs a couple defensive snaps or plays the entire game, Turay said on Friday that after finally working his way back to practice he's going to continue to "have a high expectation of myself" as he finally gets back to game action.
"Coaches said I did good — knowing that I missed so much time off — but I felt confident," Turay said of returning to practice. "I wasn't thinking about the injury. It felt good, I felt good out there. Me personally, I just have a high expectation of where I want to be, so it's always going to be like that. From outside noise, they said I did good."
» Smith initially appeared on the Colts' injury report on Thursday, when he was limited with a thumb issue, and he did not practice on Friday. With Smith out today against the Packers, then Le'Raven Clark or Chaz Green will likely fill his role as the starting right tackle, while 2020 fifth-round pick Danny Pinter, a guard/center, could also play tackle if needed.
Smith, the Colts' 2018 second-round pick out of Auburn, snaps a streak of 37 straight starts at right tackle for Indianapolis; over that span, Smith missed just one offensive snap.