WESTFIELD, Ind. — Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis were both building significant steam ahead during training camp when their progress was halted by injuries.
But the Indianapolis Colts don't believe it'll be long until two of their second-round picks from this year's NFL Draft — both of whom are considered to be building blocks to the future of the team's defense — will be back on the field.
"I think Turay is really close," head coach Frank Reich told reporters on Tuesday. "I think Turay is really close, and Lewis is getting a lot closer as well."
Turay, selected with the 52nd-overall pick this year out of Rutgers, had actually just appeared atop the team's first preseason unofficial depth chart at defensive end when he suffered a knee injury and missed the team's Aug. 3 training camp practice. He hasn't returned since.
Lewis, meanwhile, was seeing his reps increase significantly at both defensive tackle spots when he suffered a foot injury and missed practice for the first time on Aug. 6. Although he has since gotten rid of a walking boot, Lewis — the 64th-overall pick this year out of Ohio State — is also yet to return to the practice field.
Reich said it's obviously important for both young defenders to get back to the field as soon as possible, but won't rush either player back just for the sake of development.
"Obviously, it's important. It's important," Reich said. "It would be good if they could be out there, but you just learn in this business that you just cannot rush it as much as you want to, especially when they are younger. When it's (Anthony) Castonzo, you can say, 'Okay, another couple of days. Let's just be 100 percent sure.' But when it's a young guy and you just realize he's trying, you're trying to establish something. You want them to get every rep, but you just have to be smart.
"I think those guys have really been into it in the meetings and trying to get involved in any way they can. Just looking forward to getting them back out there."
The Colts have several other players who have missed multiple days of practice recently, including: center Deyshawn Bond (concussion), tackle Tyreek Burwell (calf), tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), tackle/guard Denzelle Good (hamstring), running back Marlon Mack (hamstring), cornerback Chris Milton (hip), running back Robert Turbin (ankle), linebacker Anthony Walker (groin) and wide receiver James Wright (knee).
Tight end Eric Ebron (ankle) and defensive end Anthony Johnson (back), meanwhile, missed their first day of practice on Tuesday.
— The team hopes Castonzo will get some preseason reps at some point, Reich said Saturday, but because he re-aggravated a previous hamstring injury — and because there's still a good amount of time left until the regular season opener — there's no reason to rush their starting left tackle back into action.
— Reich said Tuesday Good is also "getting close" to a return. The team had been utilizing Good as its top swing tackle, and hopes he can continue competing for the starting job at right tackle. "Yeah, we need to get him back in the mix," Reich said.
— Mack suffered his hamstring injury on Thursday in the first quarter of the Colts' preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, and has been labeled "week-to-week." Same goes with Turbin and Wright, each of whom were injured in the Seahawks game and are also "week-to-week," according to Reich.
— Reich said July 31 "it is going to be a few weeks" when it came to Walker's injured groin. At the time of his injury, he was working in as the first-team MIKE linebacker. Rookies Skai Moore and Zaire Franklin have been getting most of those reps since.