WESTFIELD, Ind. – Andrew Luck’s strained left calf dominates so much as training camp unfolds and the Sept. 8 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers looms.
And rightly so.
He’s the driving force behind the Indianapolis Colts. He’s undeniably their most indispensable player. Yes, Chris Ballard and his personnel staff have brought a strong roster to Grand Park Sports Campus, one that has the potential to challenge for the team’s first AFC South championship since 2014, and so much more.
But that’s with Luck, and he has missed the last five practices and probably won’t return until sometime next week. There’s a good chance he won’t play in any of the preseason games.
While Luck’s status will remain Topic of the Day until the calf no longer is an issue, there are several other Colts who missed all of the team’s offseason work that merit an update. So, here we go.
TE JACK DOYLE
- Background: The Cathedral High School product earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2017, but saw his encore season sabotaged by hip and kidney injuries. He was limited to six games and 26 catches, and needed surgery to address each injury.
- Update: The good news is Doyle was ready when camp opened. The hip might need continued rehab, but it’s not keeping him off the field. However, an oblique injury has kept him out the past several days.
- From Doyle: “The hip feels great. I haven’t thought about it while I’ve been out there, so that’s a good sign for me. I’m working through the oblique thing right now, but feeling good and getting better every day. I’m happy with where I am and excited to get back working.’’
S CLAYTON GEATHERS
- Background: One of Ballard’s favorites and a defensive cornerstone started 12 games last season, which was a great sign. Geathers missed 18 of 32 games in 2016-17 with a variety of injuries. Then in the offseason, he underwent a “clean-up’’ procedure on one of his knees that forced him to miss tons of practice time last season. The team re-signed Geathers to a one-year contract in the offseason, but the length of the deal and its value – approximately $2.75 million – reflected management’s concern over his ability to stay on the field.
- Update: Geathers has been given a few “maintenance days’’ to ensure he’s not overworked, but otherwise, he’s in the midst of a solid camp. He and Malik Hooker are getting serious first-team reps, which bodes well for the season.
- From Geathers: “I’m feeling great. Kind of the best I’ve felt in a while. Just trying to get out there and make plays. (The knee) feels great. No problem at all. Right now as we speak, I can’t pinpoint anything (that’s an issue). Just taking it one day at a time. Just trying to give my teammates all I can. That will always be my mindset. The body just needs to hold up, and it will.’’
WR DEON CAIN
- Background: The 2018 sixth-round draft pick was one of the stars last summer at Grand Park. He made highlight-reel plays on a daily basis. But in the preseason opener at Seattle – and on his 21st birthday – Cain tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He’s less than a year removed from reconstructive surgery.
- Update: The coaching staff is working Cain back into things relatively slowly. He’s yet to take meaningful snaps with the starting unit, but the fact he’s practicing represents a major step in his rehab. Cain is one of those young players who needs to play in preseason games. He needs to get past that first bit of game-speed and full-speed hitting considering what occurred the last time he was on the playing field.
- From Cain: “It’s all really good. I had a great offseason program with the trainers . . . so I’m out here feeling good, flying. I’m just really trying to keep on progressing every day. Right now I’ve got 100 percent trust (in the knee). It’s more getting back into competing with the guys, running around on the field, doing one-on-one, 7-on-7, doing all those type of things again.’’
TE ROSS TRAVIS
- Background: The Colts claimed Travis off waivers from Kansas City in November 2017, and he appeared in four games with two receptions. He was enjoying a strong ’18 preseason, but suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in the final minutes of the final preseason game against Cincinnati. Subsequent surgery forced him to miss all of the Colts’ offseason work.
- Update: Travis was on the field for the first day of camp. He ran routes effortlessly and was back being an intriguing down-field threat for the quarterbacks. He’s been slowed lately by a hamstring injury.
- From Travis: “When this (injury) happened, there’s a moment where you feel like crap. You’re asking, ‘Why me?’ But then you’ve got to snap out of it and get to work. Ultimately in football, the goal is to be the best player you can be. To be that, you’ve got to be on the field. It becomes what do you have to do to get back on the field and what are you willing to sacrifice. You know, ‘How bad do you want it?’
“I’ve put myself in position to be ready and be out here for training camp. The last phase of it is getting on the field, gaining confidence, running routes, just feeling good about the offense.
“I don’t think about the knee at all. The only time I think about it is when I’m in rehab or somebody asks me about it.’’
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