By Christina Rivers
In only the second time this 2014 NFL season, every single Indianapolis Colts player on the active roster participated in practice on Thursday; a welcoming sight. The Colts were hit hard at the center and inside linebacker positions, but all six injured players are back and ready to get to work. Thursday marked the second time during the entire season that all 53 players participated, the last time being a Friday practice coming off of their bye week. The lone mystery is the status of wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Wayne did not appear on the injury report on the Colts’ official website all week, but on Friday, his participation wasn’t clearly declared.
Wayne suffered a groin and triceps injury but was still able to play against the Cincinnati Bengals. Before that game he insisted he’d be at 100 percent. He was only targeted twice and caught one pass for 12 yards. In his 12th trip to the playoffs in 14 seasons, Wayne has excelled in the postseason. He is second only to Jerry Rice in postseason receptions (92) and fourth on the all-time postseason leaders list with 1,242 yards. With Wayne’s contract up at the end of the season, it’s unlikely that the team’s leading receiver won’t be on the field. After practice on Friday, Wayne told the media, “The thing with us, it always boils down to turnovers.” In fact, his main focus was on turnovers being key to earning a win. One thing is clear: Wayne hasn’t given up on the team, but offensive turnovers have hurt them as much as injuries.
At inside linebacker, the Colts were a damaged group. Jerrell Freeman, Andrew Jackson, D’Qwell Jackson and Henoc Muamba were all struggling to get healthy. Freeman and (Andrew) Jackson were limited on Wednesday and both (D’Qwell) Jackson and Muamba were non-participants. With all four in shape, Indianapolis has to be liking their options at stopping any running game the Broncos put together and blitz packages they can throw at Peyton Manning.
Jonotthan Harrison had stepped in at center for injured A.Q. Shipley, but both suffered injuries that could have had Andrew Luck worried about who would be snapping him the ball this weekend. Shipley looks to get the start as Harrison’s concussion forced him to go through the official concussion protocol.
One final walk-through on Saturday morning is all that remains before the Colts travel to Denver this weekend. Focus this week has been on protecting the football while on offense. “We always talk about, ‘never turn down a profit,’” said head coach Chuck Pagano after practice on Friday. “And we saw the value of that and (Luck) did a great job with it last week.” The Colts will look to Luck to keep the chains moving and to the defense to shut down a Broncos offense that, when it gets hot, tends to explode in big ways. “It goes hand-in-hand,” said cornerback Greg Toler, who returned from a knee injury this week. “Us giving guys up front the time to get (Manning) off his mark, and then disrupting the timing of him and receivers plays a big factor.”
Colts Injury Recap
- Jerrell Freeman (ILB, abdomen)
- Jonotthan Harrison (C, concussion)
- Andrew Jackson (ILB, hamstring)
- D’Qwell Jackson (ILB, rest on Wednesday)
- Henoc Muamba (ILB, back)
- A.Q. Shipley (C, ankle)
- Greg Toler (CB, knee)
- Erik Walden (OLB, knee)
- Reggie Wayne (WR, rest)
For more Colts news and updates, visit Colts Central.
Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on