Colts’ Darius Leonard on mend from recent ankle surgery

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: Darius Leonard looks on after recieving his MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Award during the press conference for the 60th NFF Anual Awards Ceremony at New York Hilton Midtown on December 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The offseason is a time for players to heal, and that’s especially true for the Indianapolis Colts.

Several front-line players – including linebacker Darius Leonard – will be limited or unavailable for practice when organized team activities begin Tuesday.

In a sweeping, informative meeting with the local media Tuesday, general manager Chris Ballard revealed the team’s decorated linebacker is on the mend from recent surgery.

Leonard, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-Pro selection, underwent surgery last week to address an injury to his left ankle that bothered him much of last season.

The ankle still was bothering the team’s 2018 second-round draft pick during the early portion of the Colts’ offseason work, so “we just decided to do (the procedure) now and get it taken care of,’’ Ballard said, adding the surgery was “just to clean up a little spot.

“It’s a six-week recovery. He’ll be ready for camp.’’

The Colts open their second training camp at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield in late July.

“I know everybody gets in panic mode this time of year,’’ Ballard said of offseason injury situations, “but you play in September.”

Leonard’s health drew the most attention, but he has ample company.

Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron is in rehab mode after undergoing groin surgery, and Ballard mentioned starting middle linebacker Anthony Walker will be limited during OTA due to “remnants from last year.’’

Also, tight end Jack Doyle will probably will miss all of the offseason work while completing his recovery from hip surgery. The 2017 Pro Bowl selection also had a procedure last season to address a kidney injury. Both injuries limited Doyle to six games and 26 receptions in 2018.

“Progressing really good,’’ Ballard said. “He won’t be completely cleared probably until about mid-June. But he’ll be fine for training camp.

“Jack is good. His weight’s back up, lean mass, everything. Looking at him moving right now, you wouldn’t think (anything was wrong). He’s like (Clayton) Geathers to me. I’m a big Jack Doyle fan.’’

The Colts also will monitor the practice workload of Clayton Geathers.

Wideout Deon Cain, who missed his rookie season with a torn ACL, and tight end Ross Travis, who also missed last season with a knee injury, should be cleared for practice in mid-June.

Another veteran likely will have to deal with a reduced workload during OTAs and perhaps at camp. That would be T.Y. Hilton.

“We’ll take it easy on T.Y.,’’ Ballard said.

The team’s four-time Pro Bowl wideout practiced sparingly in December due to a two sprains – high and low – to his right ankle.

Hilton admitted recently he’s “still got a little bit more to go’’ in terms of rehab, and the Colts always err on the side of caution when it comes to players dealing with injuries, or advanced age. Players in the 30-something range often are given days off during camp. Hilton turns 30 in November.

Ballard recalled two years ago when injuries to other wideouts forced Hilton to carry a heavier workload than was ideal.

“Two years ago we almost killed him when all those wideouts went down,’’ Ballard said. “Holy crap, he was taking every rep and not (complaining) at all.

“We’ll take care of T.Y. and give the young guys (more) reps.’’

Roster moves

The Colts signed defensive end Dadi Nicolas and waived cornerback Jamal Peters.

The 6-3, 251-pound Nicolas has appeared in 11 career games, all with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. He was a sixth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2016 when Ballard was Kansas City’s director of football operations.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

Listen to Chappell and the crew discuss all things Colts in the weekly Colts Bluezone Podcast.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.