INDIANAPOLIS – It isn’t exactly status quo with Shaquille Leonard. Progress has been made.
But has there been enough for the Indianapolis Colts’ All-Pro linebacker to make his season debut Sunday at Jacksonville?
“We’re gonna find out,’’ Leonard said prior to Thursday’s practice. “We’ll find out soon.’’
Leonard is in the midst of his third week of full-team practices, and was a full participant in Wednesday’s full-pads work. He was held out of a full-pads practice last week.
Monday, Frank Reich said Leonard would have to “make progress from where we were last week’’ to have a chance to play against the Jaguars.
That box apparently has been checked off.
“I’m feeling better than last week,’’ said Leonard, who underwent back surgery in June. “Practicing pretty smooth. Just want to continue stacking the days.’’
What tells him things are better?
“Just the way that I’m moving around,’’ Leonard said. “Full pads felt smooth. After practice was just like a normal day for me. I wasn’t as sore as I was last week, so just keep going.’’
A determination on Leonard’s availability likely won’t be made until Friday.
“Same deal as last week,’’ he said. “Just continue to practice and make the right decision when the time is coming and leave it up to the coaches and training staff and myself whenever I feel like I can go.’’
Leonard traveled with the team to Houston and admitted it was difficult watching from the sideline as the Colts settled for a 20-20 tie.
“It’s very hard,’’ he said. “Just standing there and not being able to physically go out and help. Just got to make sure that I was dialed in, let the guys know exactly what I see, help them out in every form I possibly can and . . . keep the guys’ morale up.’’
Leonard dismissed the idea he should be extra motivated to return this week at Jacksonville. The Colts’ season ended in January with their 26-11 loss to the Jaguars.
“No. No,’’ he said. “In my mind this is just another game. All you hear is about Jacksonville last year, last year.
“It’s like talking about your ex-girlfriend when you’re with somebody new, you know what I mean? You’ve got to learn from your ex, make your life better, just continue to get better from there. Want to continue to get better in practice, then hit the game ready to rock and roll and hopefully come back home with a W.’’
Other injury concerns
Three starters were held out of Thursday’s practice: defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (hip), wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (quad) and cornerback Kenny Moore II (hip).
Their availability for Sunday’s game won’t be determined until Friday.
Rookie wideout Alec Pierce was a limited participant, which was a positive sign. He was held out of Wednesday’s practice after suffering a concussion at Houston and entering the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Pierce wore the normal red “no contact’’ jersey as he works his way through the protocol.
Busy week for Havrisik
A phone call kick-started a busy week for Lucas Havrisik.
The rookie kicker was settling into his home in Tucson, Ariz. when he received a call from the Colts. They were looking for a replacement for Rodrigo Blankenship, who would be waived Tuesday.
“Sunday I got the call, Monday I was on a flight, Tuesday I worked out,’’ Havrisik said Thursday. “Left Tucson around 9 a.m. Monday, got here around 8 p.m. and worked out the next day.
“It was pretty good.’’
The Colts signed Havrisik and Chase McLaughlin to the practice squad and one will handle kicking duties at Jacksonville.
Havrisik participated in the Colts’ rookie minicamp in the spring on a tryout basis. He said he’s recently had workouts with several teams.
The idea: just get your foot in the door.
“I’ve followed all of the kickers who have made it,’’ he said. “I look at how they got in and many teams they’ve been with before.
“I’ve seen it’s a long process with kickers until you stick.’’
Havrisik displayed a strong leg at Arizona. Although he converted a lukewarm 64.1% of his field goal attempts, he was 7-of-14 on attempts of at least 50 yards and set Arizona’s school record with a pair of 57-yarders. He generated touchbacks on nearly 75% of his kickoffs.
He won’t lack confidence if the Colts turn to him.
“As a kicker you’d better be confident,’’ Havrisik said. “Growing up I played a lot of different sports and I always was very competitive. I always wanted to win.
“Kicking is a little different, though. It’s just you and the ball and the uprights. You’ve just got to be locked in on kicking. It’s how much you believe in yourself.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.