INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts will be thin at the tight end position — for one game, at least.
The team announced today that tight end Mo Alie-Cox has been downgraded to out for Sunday's Week 12 matchup against the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Alie-Cox was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, but was labeled as limited on Thursday with a calf injury. He did not practice on Friday, meanwhile, and was initially considered questionable for the Dolphins game.
Without making a related roster move — the Colts do have another tight end, Je'Ron Hamm, on their practice squad, but he was just signed by the team on Wednesday — the Indianapolis offense is left with just two available tight ends tomorrow: Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron.
The team's two other tight ends on the active roster both were already ruled out for the Dolphins game on Friday. Ryan Hewitt has been out since Week 10 with an ankle injury, while Erik Swoope will be out for a fourth straight game as he deals with a nagging knee injury.
Alie-Cox has been able to take advantage of his opportunities with Swoope unable to go in recent weeks. A member of the Colts' practice squad the first three weeks of the season, Alie-Cox — a basketball player at VCU who hadn't played organized football since his freshman year in high school prior to signing in Indy last offseason — made his NFL debut Week 4 against the Houston Texans, catching one pass for 17 yards.
Since that time, Alie-Cox has not only caught his first-career touchdown pass — a sensational one-handed grab Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders — but he followed that up with his second touchdown reception the next game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In all, Alie-Cox has played in six games this season, and has six receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
That the Colts have to turn to just Doyle and Ebron at the tight end position tomorrow against the Dolphins isn't necessarily the worst news the team could be facing the day before a game.
Doyle, who is coming off his first-career Pro Bowl selection, has been solid since returning from a five-game absence caused by a hip injury suffered Week 2 against the Washington Redskins. He has 22 receptions for 220 yards and one touchdown on the season, and has been very solid as a run blocker.
Ebron, meanwhile, has flourished in his first season in Indianapolis. The fifth-year North Carolina product leads all NFL tight ends in receiving touchdowns (nine) and total touchdowns (10), and also is right up there in receptions (39) and receiving yards (463).
Center Ryan Kelly is the only other Colts player that has already been ruled out of Sunday's game.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, will be without wide receiver Jakeem Grant, who, according Alain Poupart of MiamiDolphins.com, is expected to miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles injury. Six Miami players have been ruled questionable: wide receiver Danny Amendola (hamstring), tight end A.J. Derby (foot/knee), defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (shin), tackle Ja'Wuan James (knee), center/guard Ted Larsen (neck) and safety T.J. McDonald (knee).