Colts’ Henry Anderson back on active roster since suffering injury last year

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Henry Anderson

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The next step on Henry Anderson’s return from a knee injury that curtailed his promising rookie season is to hit one of his teammates.

On the practice field, of course.

The Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle was moved from the physically unable to perform list to the active roster Monday after gaining medical clearance from team doctors and rehabilitation staff.

It sounded as if Anderson offered strong input as well.

“I felt like I kind of reached a point working with the trainers on the side where there wasn’t much more I could be doing without actually hitting people,’’ he said. “So doctors gave me the clearance to go ahead and start practicing.’’

Coach Chuck Pagano emphasized the team will remain cautious as Anderson takes his latest step on his comeback from surgery last November to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament his right knee. The injury occurred Nov. 8 against the Denver Broncos.

“Obviously we’re going to take it slow and be smart with everything and . . . see how my knee feels and how it responds every day,’’ Anderson said.

“I’m excited to finally put the pads on and actually start hitting people.’’

The key, he added, is regaining confidence in working in a chaotic environment. Everything was controlled and scripted during his rehab.

“It’s contact and being in an environment that isn’t controlled and everything is like ‘Oh, this is safe’ and there’s not going to be a body rolling (into me), stuff like that,’’ Anderson said. “I need to be knocked off balance and have to catch myself, put my leg in a weird position.

“Hitting people definitely is a big part of it, but it’s also the fact I won’t be in a totally controlled atmosphere like I was with the trainers.

“I’m sure my knee’s going to be a little sore doing some of the stuff out there because I’m just not used to the stresses I’m going to be putting on it. I want to see how it feels going against double teams and 300-pounders. Hopefully it responds well.’’

Position coach Gary Emanuel informed Pagano he was pleased with Anderson’s progress.

“He thought (Anderson) looked better than he’s ever looked,’’ Pagano said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting back in one-on-one situations, two-on-one situations. And we’ve got to be smart about that.’’

Anderson smiled when told of Emanuel’s endorsement.

“I’m a little bit lighter than I was last year and I’m carrying the weight a little better than I did last year,’’ he said. “I feel like I’m moving definitely better than I did last year.’’

Anderson, a 2015 third-round pick who started nine games before tearing his ACL, stopped short of declaring he’ll be ready for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Detroit Lions.

“We’ve got to see how it responds to some of these practices,’’ he said. “Tough to see right now. We’ll see.’’