INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts are preparing to be without the anchor of their surging offensive line — for a little bit of time, at least.
Head coach Frank Reich said today that center Ryan Kelly “could miss a little time” after suffering a knee injury during the team’s 38-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Reich said it’s too early to attach a “week-to-week” status on Kelly, however.
“We’re gonna take a few days and monitor and assess it a little bit further before we kind of give it any kind of status,” Reich told reporters in a conference call. “But he could miss a little bit of time.”
Filling in for Kelly for the time being will be third-year veteran Evan Boehm. Signed to the Colts’ active roster off the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad on Oct. 9, Boehm has appeared in five games with Indy so far this season.
Boehm has started nine games in his NFL career, and Reich is confident that he’ll be able to step in and keep things moving smoothly for an offensive line that has not allowed a sack in five straight games, which is tied for the third longest streak in the NFL since at least 1982.
“We’ll just keep rolling,” Reich said. “We feel like Evan’s ready if he’s the one playing. Obviously Ryan’s playing at a super high level, so I’m not gonna suggest that there wouldn’t be any changes, but they’d be very minimal. Really, it just comes down to systematically him plugging in and being able to take control and show a handle of the protections and making the calls in the run game, and in protections. And we have confidence he can do that.”
Should Kelly’s injury linger past this Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, the team could turn to another option at the center position if it so chooses.
Joe Haeg, who was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury on Sept. 28, returned to practice last week, and the team could decide to activate him off IR after the Dolphins game if it deems him ready to go.
Haeg, who is primarily a tackle and guard, added center duties to his repertoire this offseason and into training camp and the preseason, as he worked primarily at that position with the second team.
“The good thing about Joe is that he can fit in anywhere,” Reich told host Matt Taylor Monday in his weekly appearance on “Colts Roundtable Live” on 1070 The Fan. “He can play all five positions, and that’s one of the things that is so valuable about him, that at this time of the year we’re pretty healthy up front — obviously, besides Ryan right now — so when Joe gets back, we’ll see where the greatest need is.”
Good news on Hunt
While Kelly could potentially miss some time, another key interior Colts player could be facing some better news with his own knee injury.
Defensive tackle Margus Hunt, who was also knocked out of Sunday’s game and didn’t return, had a little bit better prognosis on Monday, Reich said.
“Not 100 percent sure, but we feel a little bit more optimistic about him,” Reich said about Hunt. “But we’ll wait and see how he responds in the next couple days. But we’re a little bit more optimistic with Margus.”
Hunt has started nine games for the Colts this season and has been a menace up front for opposing offenses, collecting 18 tackles (11 for a loss), 4.0 sacks, three quarterback hits, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.