Colts: Darius Leonard and Xavier Rhodes injury update is good sign

Colts LB Darius Leonard (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Colts LB Darius Leonard (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Colts fans might be able to breathe a sigh of relief regarding Darius Leonard and Xavier Rhodes.

There were plenty of reasons for Colts fans to have their chests puffed up Sunday after a powerhouse 44-27 victory over the Raiders.

And after the game, they got to expel a little bit of the nervous air they were still holding onto.

Though we all enjoyed a contest marked by defensive dominance in the desert, both Pro Bowl-level cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive captain Darius Leonard went down midway through, under varying degrees of mystery.

Rhodes contested a sideline catch and came up clutching his leg, rolling over in pain despite a distinct lack of pressure on the appendage mid-play. It was the kind of injury that you worried was non-contact. Leonard, meanwhile, simply disappeared; he suffered from a back issue that we never witnessed.

According to Frank Reich in the postgame, though, neither man was ruled out of Sunday’s game at any point, and could’ve returned if necessary (spoiler alert: very much not necessary).

Rhodes was spotted wandering the sidelines during the second half, a vast improvement from the time he spent pawing at the ground as the cameras cut to break and CBS played the “sad injury” version of their transition music. And Leonard was largely absent, but we now know that was likely because Reich simply unplugged him.

For one night only, neither man really had to participate in the second half or the stat sheet.

Teammates like Kenny Moore and Khari Willis took over this one, with Moore’s one-handed end zone interception receiving entirely appropriate accolades from the opposing quarterback.

After this unexpectedly easy win, all that’s left on the Colts’ schedule are the Texans, Jaguars and hobbled Steelers — anybody else smelling an 11-5 record, at the very least?

As long as this defensive duo is healthy, the sky’s the limit for this Colts team that didn’t dare doubt itself throughout a difficult November, even as we…well, wavered a bit.

Now, there’s no ceiling left. Not a bad way to prove you belong among the contenders.