INDIANAPOLIS –An already short-handed Indianapolis Colts outfit has been dealt several other blows as a critical AFC South clash with the Tennessee Titans looms.
Rookie running back and leading rusher Jonathan Taylor was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and starting center Ryan Kelly was downgraded from questionable to out with a neck injury.
Taylor was placed on the COVID-19 list as a high-risk individual, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. That was first reported by NFL Network. A high-risk player must remain on the list for at least five days, which was the case earlier this month with linebacker Matthew Adams.
A player who tests positive must remain on the COVID-19 list at least 10 days if he is asymptomatic or 14 days if he displays symptoms.
The Colts already were without defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who was placed on the COVID-19 list this week, and defensive lineman Denico Autry, who was placed on the list Nov. 20. Starting linebacker Bobby Okereke also has been ruled out with an ankle injury.
With Kelly out, Ball State rookie Danny Pinter, a fifth-round draft pick, likely makes his first career start. Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines will share the running load with Taylor sidelined.
In another medical matter announced Saturday, cornerback/kick returner Isaiah Rodgers was downgraded to questionable with a knee injury.
Coach Frank Reich addressed the loss of key personnel Friday, before it was known Taylor and Kelly would be unavailable.
“This is normal and good teams overcome it,’’ he said. “That’s what we need to do. That’s the great thing about football: it’s not a one-man show.
“Sure, every player is important and every player adds a unique contribution and when you get players go down, at one level you miss him, but I’ve just seen in this game for so long and so many times that good teams overcome it because they believe, because they have good depth, being the guys who step up play great and the rest of the team plays great and that’s what we’ll do.’’
In other roster moves, the Colts elevated center Joey Hunt and defensive end Cassius Marsh to the active roster from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements. Also, defensive tackles Kameron Cline and Rob Windsor were added to the active roster from the practice squad and wideout Ashton Dulin was activated off injured reserve.
The meeting with the Titans carries significant playoff ramifications.
The Colts and Titans are tied atop the AFC South at 7-3, but the Colts currently own the tiebreak based on their earlier victory in Nashville.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.