Colts: Current injuries could really hurt if they make the playoffs
Injuries are starting to pile up at the worst possible time for the Colts.
The Indianapolis Colts’ collapse last weekend unfortunately means they do not control their own destiny as far as the playoffs are concerned. Not only do they need to beat the Jaguars, who upset them in stunning fashion in Week 1, but one of Cleveland, Miami or Baltimore need to lose as well.
We aren’t too worried about Jacksonville, considering how many key players they’ll be without — like running back James Robinson and wideout DJ Chark — but it’s worth noting that the Colts have their own fair share of injuries to worry about.
The team announced Friday that secondary tandem Rock Ya-Sin and Khari Willis will both be sidelined for the game as they continue to recover from concussion protocol. Both players suffered their injuries against the Steelers and neither was able to practice this week, which is pretty concerning when you consider that the playoffs are right around the corner.
We know Indianapolis could easily be sent packing this weekend, but these injuries could really come back to haunt them if they end up making the playoffs. The status of Ya-Sin is particularly worrisome, as he apparently didn’t start experiencing concussion-like symptoms until a few days after the Steelers game.
When it comes to replacing Ya-Sin, the Colts will almost certainly turn to TJ Carrie. The two cornerbacks have been rotating on the left side of the field for several weeks now, with Ya-Sin holding the advantage last weekend. However, it still doesn’t change the fact that the secondary is at its best when both of them are on the field.
The safety position, meanwhile, will be harder to sort out for Indy’s coaching staff. Tavon Wilson is the obvious first choice to start in place of Willis, but he was burned on multiple occasions against Pittsburgh, specifically in the second half during their comeback.
We haven’t even mentioned the loss of Anthony Castonzo, who was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury that will end his season. His dependability in terms of sealing the edge and protecting quarterback Philip Rivers’ blindside was sorely missed vs the Steelers and will continue to loom large if Indy reaches the playoffs.
On top of that, DeForest Buckner (ankle) and Michael Pittman Jr. (concussion) both missed practice time this week, with the latter being labeled as questionable for the season finale. Buckner was removed from the injury report, but it’s not outlandish to assume that his effectiveness could be impeded by the injury, which has lingered for multiple weeks now.
This obviously isn’t to say we won’t be stoked if the Colts get in, but fans should no doubt temper expectations if that happens, because they could be severely hobbled in the opening round.