The Herald Bulletin

September 15, 2013

Colts Notes: Injuries piling up for Indianapolis

By Tom James
CNHI News Service

---- — INDIANAPOLIS — Oh those injuries.

The list keeps getting longer for the Indianapolis Colts.

It was bad enough that tight end Dwayne Allen (foot), inside linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle) and wide receiver/kick returner David Reed were forced to miss Sunday's Miami game.

Then there was the season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear that running back Vick Ballard suffered in his right knee during a non-contact practice session late last week. He's been placed on injured reserve.

Offensive guard Donald Thomas was added to the injury list Sunday after incurring a torn quad tendon muscle in the first quarter Sunday.

"Requires season-ending surgery, I'm sure," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said after the game. "You hate to lose anybody. We feel awful about Donald, but that's how this game is."

Thomas, who was signed as a veteran free agent from New England during the off-season, was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie offensive guard Hugh Thornton. He is expected to take over at the left guard spot for the remainder of the season.

"Thought Hugh came in and did an admirable job of filling in for (Thomas)," Pagano said.

He added that wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered a shoulder injury against the Dolphins.

"They're going to image it (Sunday night). We'll know more (today)," the Colts coach added.

Luck not happy — Statistically, quarterback Andrew Luck had a pretty good game against the Dolphins. He completed 25 of 43 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown while also running our times for an additional 38 yards.

But he was also sacked three times, was intercepted once and was very nearly picked off on three other occasions. The interception snapped a streak of 165 consecutive passes without a turnover.

"Yeah, disappointed. I guess a little angry at myself. Credit to (Miami). They put us in all these situations. But I feel like we are a better team than we showed out there," Luck said.

Pagano understands.

"He's the type of guy that'll talk to you and say, 'That's on me.' I told the team we win as a team and we lose as a team," the Colts coach said.

Defense stops and allows — So how just how well did the Indianapolis defense perform against the Dolphins.

Depends on what stat you look at. The Colts sacked Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill five times and only gave up 101 yards total on the ground. Not bad.

But Indianapolis also allowed 319 yards passing to Tannehill, with nine passes going to wide receiver Mike Wallace for 115 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Charles Clay added five receptions for 109 yards.

"I thought we generated pressure," Pagano said. "There were some positives to take away (from the game)."

Hilton okay — Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who saw limited work in last week's win over Oakland, hauled in six passes for a career-high 124 yards against the Dolphins. He tied his career-best for catches.

It was Hilton's sixth career 100-yard receiving game.

"We knew we had to get him back involved. We made big plays and he made huge plays. It was good to see him get back and have the number of catches and big plays," Pagano said. "He's an explosive guy. Hopefully we can get him going in the return game too. (Miami) didn't give us many opportunities."

Next week — Expect a lot of questions during the coming week about Luck's relationship with San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh as well as Harbaugh's ties to the Colts organization.

The 49ers coach is in Indianapolis' Ring of Honor at Lucas Oil Stadium for his play as Colts quarterback. Harbaugh recruited and coached Luck, tight end Coby Fleener and safety Delano Howell at Stanford. Indianapolis offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was on Harbaugh's coaching staff at the school