The Colts started off preparations for the San Francisco 49ers with some good news Wednesday, with left guard Quenton Nelson, defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo and wide receiver Dezmon Patmon all returning to practice.
Nelson was placed on injured reserve after the Colts' Week 3 loss to the Tennessee Titans, requiring him to miss a minimum of three games. Patmon was placed on injured reserve Sept. 2, while Odeyingbo was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List Aug. 31.
Nelson and Patmon will be eligible to be activated from injured reserve as early as this week if either or both are cleared by the Colts' training staff.
"I think Quenton can be a quick return because of who he is and where he's been," head coach Frank Reich said. "We think he's been making good progress. We need to see today, he'll be limited out there today, and then we'll gauge and see if we can ramp it up tomorrow."
If Nelson does return this weekend — which Reich stressed is an "if" on Wednesday — the Colts will begin rotating Chris Reed and Mark Glowinski at right guard. Reed started at left guard in place of Nelson in Weeks 4-6.
"I think Glow's earned that spot and he's playing well, but we think Chris Reed's playing really well, also," Reich said. "We'll just let those guys alternate and at some level we'll rotate those guys through if Quenton's playing."
Odeyingbo, who suffered an Achilles' injury while training for the Senior Bowl in January, will not be eligible to be activated from the Reserve/NFI list until after the Colts' Week 8 game against the Tennessee Titans. Like Nelson and Patmon, the Colts opened a three-week window for him to participate in practice on Wednesday, so he'll either have to be added to the active roster or revert to season-ending Reserve/NFI in three weeks.
Reich, though, expressed optimism Odeyingbo could make his NFL debut sooner rather than later. And defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said he's been impressed with Odeyingbo's football IQ and engagement in meetings while he's worked his way back to be cleared to practice.
"I feel like he's one of those guys where you tell him hey, on this play you have this job, if the motion happens this is that, you have to check to this on a certain drop or whatever and he's on it," Buckner said. "And coach likes to ask him questions in meetings to keep him engaged because obviously he's been out for so long. And when he asks him questions, he answers them right away. So it just shows how mentally locked in he's been and we've been seeing the work he's been putting in to get back on the field and I'm excited to see what he's able to do today."
Colts Want Jacob Eason Back On Practice Squad
The Colts waived quarterback Jacob Eason on Tuesday as they activated quarterback Sam Ehlinger from injured reserve. Reich said he had a 45-minute conversation with Eason on Tuesday and expressed confidence in the long-term future of the 2020 fourth round pick.
"I just think for Jacob, it's more time," Reich said. "It's more time playing the game, playing football in those competitive situations and I think he's going to have a very long and good career. I think he's got the talent to do it. I'm encouraged for him however it plays out."
Additionally, Reich said veteran Brett Hundley will continue to be the Colts' backup quarterback going forward.
Wednesday's practice report