In the Training Room: How Much Better Could the Colts Be… and When?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Injuries have been the unfortunate undertone – or maybe even the overtone – of this season.  It’s a dangerous game to ask “what if” and tie a player to it… “What if Bullitt had been on the field against Woodhead?”  “What if Sanders had been in against Vick?”  The Colts preach “next man up,” and expect newcomers to execute. However, injuries have been at least part of the story in each of the Colts’ four losses, where they were without the following players:

  • v. Texans – Glenn, Lacey. C. Johnson, Saturday still recovering from injuries.  Gonzo, Sanders injured during game.
  • @ Jaguars – Brown, Conner, Garcon, Gonzo (later on IR), King, Richard, Sanders.  Bullitt injured during game (later on IR)
  • @ Eagles – Addai, Eldridge, Hart, A. Johnson, Powers, Sanders, Session, Tryon.  Brackett, Collie injured during game.
  • @ Patriots – Addai, Brackett, Hart, Sanders, Session, Tryon.  Collie re-injured during game.

So what can Colts fans realistically expect in terms of the return of each of the above players?  Bullitt, Gonzo and King are obviously out of play, as they are already on IR.  Several have already come back, including Brown, Conner, Eldridge, Garcon, Glenn, A. Johnson, Lacey, and Powers.  After the jump is my guess at the picture for the rest.  Remember that I am not a doctor, nor do I have any information above that which has already been made public.

Joseph Addai – Addai practiced on a limited basis for 2 days last week, but it was reported that his shoulder was still sore and there is apparently some concern about whether “he’ll be able to return at all.”  The nature of Addai’s injury is elusive – a hard hit to the shoulder that results in numbness and weakness is called a “stinger.”  A hit hard enough that feeling doesn’t return within an hour is serious.  It has now been 5 weeks since the injury without Addai being able to come back, meaning the damage was extensive.  I am not confident we will see Addai until at least Week 14 (@TEN), if at all. Gary Brackett – Brackett is suffering from turf toe, which I assume flared up in the game against the Eagles.  Turf toe is an injury that affects the player’s ability to get a jump out of a stance.  Treatment is usually rest and ice, and can take from 2-6 weeks depending on severity.  The trick is not rushing the athlete back into action, as re-injury can make the condition worse.  I expect Brackett to be back during Week 14 (@TEN), especially if it becomes a do-or-die situation with respect to making the playoffs. Austin Collie – Collie suffered a brutal concussion in the game against the Eagles, and was removed from the game against New England “for precautionary measures” due to the hits he took early.  If Collie did indeed suffer another concussion, I would expect the team to shut him down for at least the next 4 weeks.  Expect a come back for Week 16 (@OAK), if at all. Mike Hart – Hart suffered an ankle injury during the second game against the Texans, in Week 8, after having a career game.  It appeared that someone fell on his flexed foot and twisted his ankle badly.  He was supposed to have had an MRI shortly following the game, but no results have been shared publicly.  He has not practiced at all for 2 weeks, and there has been at least one unsubstantiated rumor that he’s done for the year.  The fact that MRI results haven’t been shared yet leads me to believe that the news isn’t season-ending bad (otherwise the team would almost certainly have announced it, placed Hart on IR, and begun to coach up another RB).  However, most professional athletes are able to test first degree sprains after a couple of weeks, and it doesn’t appear Hart has done so yet.  This could be as much as an 8-week issue, putting Hart back in Week 16 (@OAK). Bob Sanders – the latest information we have on Bobzilla (from Bill Polian himself) puts him back in action potentially as early as Week 13 (v. DAL). Clint Session – Session suffered a well-documented elbow dislocation and forearm fracture during the first half of the Week 8 game against the Texans, and went on to play the second half.  Instead of being put on IR, the team decided that if Session was able to withstand the punishment without anything more than a brace, he might have a chance to return to the field with some rest and a cast.  The original timeline was at least 2 weeks.  I suspect that the Colts will look at this week’s matchup against Philip Rivers and try to get Session into the rotation – Week 12 (v. SDG). Justin Tryon – Tryon sprained his ankle during the Week 8 game against the Texans, and has yet to practice.  He was spotted in a walking boot as recently as November 3rd, but no information has been released regarding the severity of the injury, nor whether Tryon has had an MRI.  A walking boot indicates that Tryon can withstand weight, but needs to stabilize the joint so that tendons or bone can heal.  This is another case where the fact that he’s not on IR is encouraging, but timeline is just a guess here – Week 15 (v. JAC).

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