Colts Notebook: Injuries dominant at training camp – The Herald Bulletin

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm


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INDIANAPOLIS Training camp began with the starting quarterback on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and it officially ended Thursday with the news the starting center will miss the start of the regular season.

In between, the Indianapolis Colts lost a host of key contributors for varying periods of time. Rookie safety Malik Hooker, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, tight end Erik Swoope and inside linebacker Edwin Jackson are among the notables likely to miss Saturday's second exhibition game at Dallas.

They'd join quarterback Andrew Luck who still hasn't thrown publicly this summer and center Ryan Kelly who will undergo foot surgery after an injury last week on the sideline.

It's small wonder Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was feeling ever-so-slightly overwhelmed by it all on Thursday.

"Guys have got to push through," he said. "We've had our rash of stuff, but you've got to keep going; you can't stop."

The news is actually fairly optimistic on the defense, where projected starters Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison returned at inside linebacker this week and are expected to make their season debuts in Dallas. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins perhaps the team's most impactful free agent addition also is expected to make his Colts debut after missing last week's game with an ankle injury.

Still, things are so thin at cornerback where Rashaan Melvin, Darryl Morris and Christopher Milton all recently missed significant time that the team is taking an extended look at a potential move of safety T.J. Green to the position.

Wide receiver also has been hit hard by injury. Moncrief continues to be limited with a shoulder injury, and Phillip Dorsett missed all of last week with a tweaked hamstring. Previous injuries forced the waiving of several receivers, and four players at the position Marvin Bracy, Brian Riley, Valdez Showers and Justice Liggins were not on the roster when training camp began on July 29.

"My hat goes off to all the guys that are here the guys that have practiced, that have pushed through," Pagano said. "There are some guys out here that are practicing that are really hurt. They're sucking it up and they're pushing through it, and it's our vets."

The sixth-year head coach got "on a soap box" and said the league's current offseason rules do young players few favors. Teams can work with their players for just nine weeks in the spring, then there's a five-week break before camp in which no football-related contact of any kind is allowed.

If players don't report in top shape, injuries such as muscle pulls are nearly inevitable.

The Colts are taking precautions to deal with the nagging injuries, including a 45-minute post-practice recovery session Thursday that used foam rollers to ease the strain on players' muscles.

But there's still a long way to go.

"So it's on all of us," Pagano said. "It comes down to ownership and doing the right thing. Hopefully, guys figure it out sooner than later."

WORK TO DO

Training camp officially ended with Thursday's practice, but there is no ceremonial break this year.

The team will continue preseason training at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Monday, and little will change aside from perhaps the starting time of practice.

"Guys love the game; they love to work," Pagano said. "But we've got a long way to go. We're in camp mode. We will not be out of camp mode until the (Aug. 31) Cincinnati game is over. There is nothing more important than tomorrow and nothing more important than the next game, which is Dallas.

"But we need to work. That's it. We've got to work."

LUCK TALK

The Colts continue to expect Luck to be activated from PUP before the start of the regular season, and Pagano admitted it will be tempting to throw the quarterback directly back into the fire.

But the team will excercise the same caution it has displayed with the situation throughout the offseason.

"I think he is going to want to jump right in," Pagano said. "We are going to want him to jump right in. (But) I'll listen to the doctors and trainers. Whatever they tell us is the right thing to do, that's what we'll do."

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Colts Notebook: Injuries dominant at training camp - The Herald Bulletin

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August 18th, 2017 at 12:46 pm

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