Promising young Colts player’s potential breakout season is being derailed by injury

The 2023 season was supposed to be a big year for Indianapolis Colts tight end Jelani Woods, but an injury has stopped the tight end from being on the field.

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

All offseason, people have talked about potential breakout players for the young Indianapolis Colts team. One name that consistently came up was second-year tight end Jelani Woods. After a rookie season that saw Woods catch 25 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, everyone was excited to see how he would thrive with a year of experience under his belt, while also getting to play in a Shane Steichen offense and with Anthony Richardson.

Unfortunately, that process hasn’t really been able to get started. Woods has missed training camp and the entire preseason with a torn hamstring. Now, with the team turning its attention to the regular season, with Week 1 just a couple of weeks away, Jelani Woods’ timeline for a return is seemingly a mystery.

Jelani Woods missing time with torn hamstring

It was known that Woods was injured, but the severity was mostly unknown to the public. On Sunday, Nate Atkins reported that Woods’ hamstring was torn, and that all Steichen had to say about his return is that he hopes it’s sooner rather than later. But that’s not specific or promising.

The good news is that the Colts aren’t really starving for tight ends. Indianapolis still has Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Andrew Ogletree, Will Mallory, and a few others. That group will likely lose a couple of names as Indy trims its roster to just 53 players by Tuesday’s deadline, but the team will be set at tight end entering the season.

However, it’s still sad that Woods hasn’t been able to be on the field. Considering that the Colts have a new offense and a rookie quarterback, training camp and the preseason was a critical growing period for the team, especially the offense. Woods wasn’t able to fully immerse in that experience, and that could impact his development. Additionally, he could miss games, but that remains unknown.

It’s a long season, and 2023 could still ultimately be a breakout year for Jelani Woods, but it’s off to a bad start. The second-year tight end needs to get healthy so that he can tap into his potential and help the Colts offense reach new heights.