According to Mike Wells of ESPN, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano told Colts’ radio play-by-play sportscaster, Bob Lamey, in a post-game interview that wide receiver Reggie Wayne has been playing through a torn triceps injury:
It really helps to explain some of Reggie Wayne’s diminished play as of late this season. The 14-year veteran had some uncharacteristic bad drops in Sunday’s win against the Cleveland Browns. He finished with just 1 reception for 5 yards on the afternoon.
To be honest, the veteran wide receiver hasn’t looked the same since he suffered a Week 7 “elbow injury” along the sideline against the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed Week 8’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of the injury, but promptly returned in Week 9 to face the New York Giants.
Dec 7, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) makes a reception against Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert (21) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Colts won 25-24. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Playing wide receiver in the NFL is probably challenging enough, let alone when a player is playing through a torn triceps injury. It seems likely that there’s at least some direct correlation between Wayne’s inability to consistently catch the football in recent games and the injury. It’s led to an alarming amount of drops for a player that has always been highly regarded for his sure-hands and pass-catching prowess.
In his last 3 games combined, Wayne has just 8 receptions for 46 total receiving yards and 0 touchdowns.
To the naked eye, Wayne has clearly been laboring out there in his routes and catches. Perhaps fans can take some solace that it may not be father time afterall that has caught up with the beloved Colts veteran wideout. Rather, it’s been the negative result of a nagging triceps injury.
It raises the question of whether Wayne should be playing at all. Purely a possession wide receiver in the twilight of his career, Wayne doesn’t offer much if he can’t consistently make catches. He doesn’t get as much separation anymore, and he’s not going to help stretch the field, so his primary advantage for the offense’s purpose has been mostly mitigated.
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With Wayne’s inability to make much of an impact on the field in recent games, T.Y. Hilton has assumed an even larger role with the offense. In Sunday’s win, the 3rd-year wideout shined with 10 receptions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, he’s going to need some help down the stretch.
Rookie wideout Donte Moncrief has shown obvious flashes, finishing with 3 receptions for 33 receiving yards. However, he’s still a bit green all things considered. Free agent wide receiver acquisition, Hakeem Nicks, hasn’t shown much explosion and has lacked rapport with QB Andrew Luck. He had 0 receptions on Sunday.
If it can no longer be Wayne, the Colts will need another one of their wide receivers to step up and help carry some of the load with Hilton because he can’t do it by himself if the Colts realistically hope to win a Super Bowl.