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Colts’ Clayton Geathers recovering from off-season neck surgery

Jeremy Langford #36 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball near the goal line against Clayton Geathers #42 of the Indianapolis Colts in the second half of a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 22, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As it turns out, rookie Malik Hooker isn’t the only safety missing the Indianapolis Colts’ off-season work because of surgery.

Veteran Clayton Geathers is recovering from neck surgery, according to Colts.com. He ended the 2016 on the injured reserve list after injuring his neck in the closing minutes of the Colts’ 24-17 win over the Tennessee Titans Nov. 20. Geathers missed the following game with a concussion, then was placed on season-ended IR with the neck issue.

Geathers has not been made available to the local media despite repeated requests over the past several weeks. No reason has been given for him being unavailable.

“Clayton has been at our facility every day during the off-season program rehabbing with our training staff,’’ coach Chuck Pagano told Colts.com. “We have a plan for his recovery and look forward to him fully healing and returning to the field.’’

Geathers has emerged as a defensive mainstay since being selected in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. He’s appeared in 24 games, 11 as a starter. He was inactive for the season opener due to a broken bone in his right foot, then started nine games before injuring his neck in week 11 against the Titans.

Geathers’ situation further complicates the Colts’ progress during the off-season.

Hooker, the first-round draft pick, is expected to miss all of the off-season work after undergoing hip/groin surgery following his final season at Ohio State.

Hooker insisted he’ll be ready for training camp in late July. There is no timetable for Geathers’ return.

Off-season workouts are closed to the media, but with Geathers and Hooker both out, the starting tandem likely is T.J. Green and Darius Butler.