WESTFIELD – The target date is Sept. 11 when the Indianapolis Colts open the season in Houston against the Texans.

But there’s no guarantee they’ll have the services of their All-Pro linebacker.

Shaquille Leonard watched and urged on his defensive teammates during another training camp practice Wednesday at Grand Park Sports Campus, but he remains on the physically unable to perform list (PUP).

He’s still in rehab mode following June surgery to repair two disks in his neck that were impacting two nerves.

Frank Reich noted the Colts are preparing for Leonard to be ready for the opener, as well as “the worst-case scenario.’’

“We’re hopeful and optimistic that he’s ready,’’ Reich said, “but you’re preparing as if he’s not going to be ready.

“You prepare for the worst-case scenario.’’

Leonard last stepped on the practice field Jan. 7, two days before the Colts’ 2021 season ended with their meltdown at Jacksonville. He didn’t participate in the teams’ offseason workouts and opened camp on PUP following the back surgery in June.

Leonard has been noticeable while offering encouragement during practice, but he’s diligently working to return.

“Shaq is preparing like he’s playing week 1,’’ Reich said. “He’s doing a lot of extra work, and he’s getting his mind right, ready to play.

“That’s what needs to happen. He’s got to get his mind ready to play. A player’s got to think he’s playing as soon as he can.’’

It’s uncertain how much on-field work Leonard would need if/when he’s medically cleared.

“Every player’s different,’’ Reich said. “I think it’s going to depend on what it looks like those last couple of weeks before he gets on the field. How much activity is he doing out here? What exactly is he doing? How much contact is there . . . sled work, pad work, conditioning, the whole thing.

“With Shaq, he’s so instinctive and so smart, and he’s putting in the time. You want him to get as much (practice) as possible, but he’s a unique player. We want to get him on the field as soon as we can.’’

At the appropriate time, general manager Chris Ballard, Reich and the medical/training staff will huddle and determine the proper course of action.

If Leonard isn’t quite ready when rosters are cut to 53 on Aug. 30, the team could add him to the active roster and his availability would be determined on a week-to-week basis. If he remains on PUP following the final roster cut, he would have to miss at least the first four games.

Leonard also was vague about his return when camp opened.

“I’m not putting a timetable on it,’’ he said. “When I’m ready, I think you’ll see me on the field.’’

A quarter for Ryan?

Reich reiterated his plans for quarterback Matt Ryan in Saturday’s preseason opener at Buffalo.

“Play maybe a quarter, maybe a little less,’’ he said. “We’ll just take it (in) the flow of the game.’’

Kicking competition

Rodrigo Blankenship and Jake Verity remain locked in a competition to determine the team’s placekicker.

What’s Reich looking for? Consistency and leg strength when necessary.

“We’re really looking for those guys to show consistency in the mid-ranges and be able to be a weapon over 50 yards,’’ he said. “Both guys have a strong enough leg to do that.’’

Thus far during practice, Blankenship is 8-for-10 and Verity 9-for-10. Each is 2-for-3 on kicks of at least 50 yards.

Campbell returns

Parris Campbell is back at practice after being held out of Monday’s work with a hamstring issue.

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You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.