The Indianapolis Colts announced their injury report Friday and received some positive news overall, including having both quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo officially listed as “probable” for Sunday against the Houston Texans:
"PROBABLEOT Anthony Castonzo (knee)CB Vontae Davis (knee)TE Jack Doyle (toe)ILB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring/ribs)QB Matt Hasselbeck (back/ribs)ILB D’Qwell Jackson (quad)OG Hugh Thornton (elbow)QUESTIONABLEWR Donte Moncrief (toe)CB Greg Toler (knee/hamstring)OUTS Colt Anderson (ankle)CB D’Joun Smith (knee)"
Regarding Hasselbeck’s availability for Sunday, head coach Chuck Pagano said his veteran backup quarterback has looked really good in practice over the past two days:
"“(He’s looked) Really good,” said Pagano on Friday. “Really good. Very, very encouraged. He had an excellent day (of practice) yesterday. Came in today and did a nice job. Threw the ball well. Really well. He’s going to play really good.”"
However, Pagano didn’t stop there, as he had high praise for his 40 year old quarterback’s overall toughness in fighting through some noticeable physical ailments–having taken some big hits over the past few weeks:
"“He’s a warrior,” added Pagano on Hasselbeck. “He’s a tough S.O.-you know what. He’s going to go play well. Really good football.”"
Oct 8, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) throws prior to the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
One key to helping Hasselbeck will be the return of Castonzo, who has missed the team’s past 3 starts with a knee injury. As the team’s best offensive lineman, Castonzo is really this unit’s anchor and allows the team to slide Joe Reitz back over to starting right tackle–who had been filling in for the former on the left side.
It also relegates rookie right tackle Denzelle Good back to the sideline, who had begun to show his lack of polish in recent starts but still flashed potential:
"“Yeah, I mean obviously we did well that way,” said Pagano regarding having Castonzo and Reitz as his starting offensive tackles again. “Practiced that way.”“Proud of Denzelle, stepping up when he had to and Joe going over to the left side with A.C. out,” added Pagano. “He did a nice job and he got better. Every week. So it’s good to have #74 back out there. Barring any setbacks from today, he should be out there on Sunday.”"
Otherwise, having starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) back in the middle should be a boost to the team’s defense overall. Having missed the past two games, Freeman is currently ProFootballFocus‘ (subscription) 3rd highest rated inside linebacker in run defense with a +12.0 grade in run defense overall and has enjoyed himself a breakout season.
However, the team still may be without two other starters in wide receiver Donte Moncrief (toe) and cornerback Greg Toler (knee/hamstring), who are both officially listed as questionable respectively.
In Moncrief’s potential absence, rookie wideout Phillip Dorsett should assume a larger role within the offense, while backup cornerback Jalil Brown could make another consecutive start by once again filling in for Toler.