Injuries have unfortunately consumed most of the conversation surrounding the Indianapolis Colts this season. Should fans have seen this coming given how many players went down during training camp?
Maybe, but not even the most defeated fan could have anticipated those woes to worsen once the regular season got underway.
The Colts have owned one of the longest injury reports in the NFL through four weeks. That remains the case entering Week 5, though only four players (Braden Smith, Kwity Paye, Rock Ya-Sin and Jordan Wilkins) have been ruled out.
For the sake of time, let’s focus on one of the few players on Indy’s roster that hasn’t missed a game yet this season.
We’re talking about Darius Leonard, who continues to feature on the injury report with an ankle injury. It seems to be a lingering issue for the $99 million linebacker, and we’re starting to worry why it hasn’t healed yet.
Is it time for Colts fans to panic about Darius Leonard’s ankle?
Leonard battled through his ankle injury at the tail-end of last season and underwent a procedure in June that sidelined him for the start of camp after it didn’t heal how he would have hoped during the offseason.
Leonard is nearly four months removed from the procedure, which was supposed to put this issue to bed on a permanent basis, and he’s still feeling the effects from it. Did he return too soon? Was the procedure unsuccessful? Why are we still even asking these questions?
Unfortunately, we don’t have any answers, and it doesn’t appear Leonard does, either, as evidenced by this quote.
“I mean it bites at times on certain movements, but you fight through the pain and find a way to get the job done,” Leonard told the media before Week 3. “That’s what I’ve been taught my whole life. You don’t make excuses, you find solutions and just go out and play. I’m so dedicated to the game. You love the game so much and you want to be out there and make sure you do enough to help this team win and make sure you make enough plays to get the defense off the field.”
It’s frustrating for Leonard, and rightly so as he hasn’t performed close to the All-Pro level fans have come to expect from him over his first three seasons. While he’s come up with a momentum-shifting play here and there, there’s been times where we forgot he was even on the field.
We don’t mean that in a literal sense, but it’s worth noting Leonard’s on pace for career-low numbers across the board.
At this point, all fans can do is hope that the injury heals with time … but that won’t happen anytime soon if Leonard continues playing 100% of the defensive snaps each week. Maybe we’re overreacting, but it might be time for Colts fans to accept that Leonard might be limited all season.