The Indianapolis Colts still don’t know when star linebacker, Shaquille Leonard, will join the team for the 2022 NFL season.
So far in training camp, a lot has been going right for the Indianapolis Colts. Matt Ryan has been impressive and the pass catchers have had some promising moments. The defense has been even more impressive. With new acquisitions Stephon Gilmore and Yannick Ngakoue, as well as new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the defense has been disruptive in camp.
However, the Colts don’t have their best defender and team leader on the field. Perennial All-Pro linebacker, Shaquille Leonard, has yet to take the practice field with Indianapolis this season. The reason being is an offseason back surgery.
All throughout last season, Leonard struggled with a nagging ankle injury. During the offseason, it was discovered that the ankle problem was stemming from a nerve issue in Leonard’s back. To fix that, Leonard underwent a minor back procedure on June 7.
While the team is hopeful that he will be back in time for Week 1, they aren’t making any promises. On Monday, the only update the team had is that Leonard will be back at “some point” this upcoming season.
Should fans be concerned about Shaquille Leonard?
Whenever a team doesn’t put a concrete timeline on a player’s return, it can incite collective panic— especially for a fan base still suffering from Andrew Luck PTSD. However, Leonard and the team insist that the issue isn’t that serious.
ESPN’s Stephen Holder explained the hold-up for Leonard’s return, reporting, “The team isn’t putting a timetable on his return from surgery because, currently, the issue centers on him rebuilding overall strength and strength in his calf, specifically, after an inactive spring and summer…From all indications, the problem is solved, which is what matters most.”
That shows that the delay isn’t about an injury lingering or any specific setback, but just that Leonard is gradually working his way back into form. Considering that the Colts are planning to play a long season, it’ll be better for Shaquille to be healthy for the long run.
Additionally, Indianapolis has good depth at the linebacker position and the team opens the year against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans, so if Leonard needs to miss games early, the team should be able to survive.