Saturday Excited About Prospects of Quick Return
INDIANAPOLIS – Things aren't yet certain for Jeff Saturday.
But he said they're better than he could have anticipated. A lot better.
Saturday, the Colts' three-time Pro Bowl center, returned to practice the last two days, saying as of Thursday he didn't yet know what his status would be for the Colts' second regular-season game Sunday.
But Saturday said that was the short-term issue.
And as far as the long-term issues: his rehabilitation from a preseason knee injury and his prospects for an effective, quicker-than-expected return?
Regarding those, Saturday said he couldn't be more pleased.
"I'm really excited about where I am, where my knee is," Saturday said Thursday as the Colts (0-1), the five-time defending AFC South champions, prepared to play the Minnesota Vikings (0-1) at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday at 1 p.m.
"Regardless of what happens this weekend in particular, just being ahead of the curve on the injury and recovery itself – I'm real excited about where I am.
"Hopefully, it will keep going and progressing at the rate it is now."
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, who said on Wednesday there was a chance Saturday could play this week, said Thursday there was still a chance, and that Saturday wouldn't be rushed back.
"Jeff practiced and wasn't 100 percent," Dungy said. "He made it through and took all of his turns. We'll see how it goes today (Thursday), if he's a little more comfortable. To put a percentage on it right now, I don't know.
"We're not going to play him if he doesn't feel good and feel that he can go out there and do a good job, but we'll see."
Also on Thursday, tight end Dallas Clark did not practice for a second consecutive day after sustaining a knee injury Sunday against Chicago.
"If he's not able to practice today (Thursday), I would doubt that we'd play him, but we'll see," Dungy said.
Saturday, a Pro Bowl selection the past three seasons, before this year's opener had missed just two starts in seven seasons as a starter. He said much about his situation will depend on how he felt during practice Thursday.
"It was a good start," Saturday said of his work Wednesday. "It was good to get back in the swing of things. It all depends on how it goes (Thursday). We're kind of gauging everything on how the day goes and how the recovery goes.
"I'm not making a decision one way or the other until we get later in the week."
Saturday said he will know he is ready when he is "able to go out and compete at the normal level without any kind of rust or feeling like, 'You're slow on this,' or 'Your timing's not quite right.' "
"That will probably be the key to it all," Saturday said. "It will be something you just get used to in practice, and then you know you're ready to get back."
Saturday said he wasn't sure why his recovery has been quicker than expected.
"I know I've gotten a ton of cards and people have walked up to me," Saturday said, smiling. "I'm giving that the credit. That's for sure."
The Colts on Thursday also continued to hone the roster, releasing veteran defensive tackle Ed Johnson and veteran wide receiver Courtney Roby and signing veteran defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey and rookie running back Justin Forsett.
Ramsey (6-feet-3, 300 pounds), originally a sixth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by Philadelphia, played two seasons with the Eagles, playing in 15 games and recording 18 tackles – nine each in 2006 and 2007. He played collegiately at the University of Southern California.
He spent training camp and preseason with the San Francisco 49ers before his recent release.
Forsett, a seventh-round selection by the Seahawks in the 2008 NFL Draft, led the Seahawks in rushing during the preseason with 248 yards and a touchdown on 46 carries. He also returned nine punts for a 6.6-yard average and six kickoffs for a 23.5-yard average.
Roby returned five kickoffs for a 20.2-yard average against Chicago this past Sunday.
Forsett, waived by the Seahawks on Tuesday, started 18 of 49 games at California, ranking third in school history with 3,220 yards rushing and fourth in rushing touchdowns with 26. He started 13 games and was a first-team All-Pac 10 selection as senior, rushing for 1,546 yards and 15 touchdowns on a school record with 305 carries.
Also Thursday, the Colts released their second injury reof the week, with guard Mike Pollak (knee), wide receiver Roy Hall (knee), Clark (knee), tight end Jacob Tamme (ankle), safety Bob Sanders (rested), Tim Jennings (rested), defensive tackle Daniel Muir (knee) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring) listed as not participating.
"I thought we had a decent afternoon (Wednesday)," Dungy said. "We started off a little sluggish in practice, then we got rolling and got much crisper. Our team periods to end the day were very good, so hopefully, we can pick up where that left off.
"We're going to need to be very sharp to go up there (in Minnesota) and get ourselves a win."
Also on Thursday, Dungy said the Colts have been piping in noise during practice this week to simulate the anticipated noise Sunday in the Metrodome, generally considered one of the NFL's loudest venues.
"We'll continue to do that," Dungy said. "It will be a noisy atmosphere with a good team that needs a win as much as we do. It will be a tough environment."
Also on Thursday, tight end Isaac Smolko was added to the practice squad and offensive lineman Tala Esera has been released from the practice squad, the club announced.