Colts' Injuries Mounting With Short Week, Division Lead On Line

The Indianapolis Colts won’t have much time to celebrate a huge Week 11 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as getting healthy for their massive Thursday Night Football matchup against the Houston Texans instantly becomes priority No. 1.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts usually employ a 24-hour rule after games: you get 24 hours to enjoy a win or forget about a loss, and then it's on to the next opponent.

But the Colts won't have that luxury this time around, even after an extremely satisfying blowout victory over a division rival in front of the home crowd.

With their 33-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars now officially in the books, the Colts immediately turn their attention to a short week of preparation to get ready for their massive Week 12 road matchup against the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.

Indianapolis and Houston — which fell today on the road to the Baltimore Ravens, 41-7 — will head into their game Thursday tied atop the AFC South Division standings with identical 6-4 records; whoever leaves NRG Stadium with the win will be in the driver's seat for a top-four seed in the AFC playoff picture heading into the final month of the season.

Complicating matters for the Colts is their murky-at-best injury situation.

Already facing a short week, Indy on Sunday saw four players exit the game with injuries, including a starter on each side of the ball in running back Marlon Mack and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin; tight end Mo Alie-Cox and cornerback Shakial Taylor also were injured and didn't return.

The Colts already had a few key injured players — cornerback Pierre Desir and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton among them — that were inactive on Sunday, putting their status for Thursday's short turnaround against the Texans in doubt.

Head coach Frank Reich said after Sunday's game that his team will do all it can to be as close to full strength as possible on Thursday night.

"Yeah, I mean, we all know that Thursday night schedule's a challenging deal physically for the players and what they go through," Reich said. "Every team kind of does the same thing; it's really all walkthroughs, no full-speed stuff. So we'll have a lot of walkthrough stuff, a lot of mental reps, and then try to get guys as healthy as possible."

Here's a quick look at the Colts' injury situation heading into the start of the week:

» Tight end Mo Alie-Cox: Alie-Cox suffered a thumb injury in the fourth quarter of today's game and didn't return. He was able to play in the first place against the Jaguars after being labeled as questionable coming in with a hip injury. If Alie-Cox is limited or can't play on Thursday, then the Colts, as of now, would have just two active tight ends in Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron; the team also has tight end Ian Bunting on its practice squad if needed.

» Wide receiver Parris Campbell: Campbell suffered a fractured hand Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and has missed the last two games. After undergoing surgery, Campbell said this past week that he hopes to return to the lineup by December; the Colts play host to the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 1.

» Cornerback Pierre Desir: Desir has been battling a nagging hamstring injury for more than a month; he suffered the injury Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and although he played after the bye week against the Texans, he's been inactive the last four games. Desir, the Colts' top cornerback, has been a key defender in recent matchups against Houston's top receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, and if Desir misses his fifth straight game, then, depending on his status, Ya-Sin or fellow rookie Marvell Tell III could earn that assignment out wide.

» Wide receiver Devin Funchess: Funchess was placed on injured reserve with a broken clavicle suffered in the Colts' Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but on Wednesday was designated as one of the team's two return-from-IR candidates, giving the Colts 21 days to decide whether to move Funchess back to the active roster or revert him to IR for the remainder of the season. Funchess said this week that his bone wasn't fully healed, and, accordingly, he was seen wearing a red no-contact jersey in practices, but there's still a chance he could be activated prior to the Texans' game, which would be a shot in the arm for a banged-up Colts receiver corps.

» Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton: Hilton suffered a calf injury during a non-contact portion of practice on Oct. 30. Initially he was given a potential timetable of three to four weeks to return; Thursday's game against the Texans will be 22 days since he suffered the injury. Hilton has dominated his matchups against Houston, especially at NRG Stadium, where in seven career regular season games he has averaged about six receptions for 133 yards and has scored seven total touchdowns.

» Running back Marlon Mack: Mack suffered a hand injury in the third quarter of today's game against the Jaguars and didn't return. He said after the game he wasn't sure yet if he had actually fractured his hand, and was awaiting further results on Monday. If that does end up being the case, it'd be tough news for the Colts' top running back, who ran the ball 14 times for 109 yards and a touchdown today against the Jaguars and is on pace to run for almost 1,400 yards on the year.

» Cornerback Shakial Taylor: Reich said Taylor suffered an ankle injury in today's game against the Jaguars. The undrafted rookie was getting added snaps after starter Kenny Moore II briefly went down with a shin injury just before halftime, and then when Ya-Sin went down with his ankle injury in the third quarter; Taylor finished with a career-best five tackles.

» Running back Jordan Wilkins: Wilkins suffered an ankle injury in last Sunday's Week 10 loss to the Miami Dolphins, and was inactive today against the Jaguars. Reich initially believed Wilkins would be out about a week. Wilkins has been effective spelling Mack at running back, and Jonathan Williams took advantage of his opportunities today against the Jaguars, collecting a career-best 13 rushing attempts for 116 yards. Williams and Hines could lead the way on the ground if Mack and/or Wilkins are limited or can't go against the Texans.

» Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin: Ya-Sin suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of today's game; after initially being labeled questionable to return, he was eventually downgraded to out for the rest of the contest. The 2019 second-round pick was enjoying his best day as a pro today, as he had collected six tackles (one for a loss) and his first-career interception before suffering his injury. Depending on injury statuses, Tell III, Taylor and Quincy Wilson could all see action at cornerback opposite starter Moore II if Ya-Sin and/or Desir are limited or inactive Thursday night. The Colts also have cornerback Deante Burton on their practice squad, while safety Rolan Milligan also has the ability to play some corner if needed.

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