Colts might have paid another heavy price for win at Chicago

Indianapolis Colts

Darius Leonard #53 of the Indianapolis Colts during warms ups before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 04, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – It was a usual day-after assessment for Frank Reich, this time going over the good, the bad and the ugly from his team’s third straight victory.

But the latest Monday routine included yet another medical update. Each week, the Indianapolis Colts, like every other team across the NFL landscape, are paying a price for going about their business.

The latest list following the 19-11 victory over the Chicago Bears included:

  • All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard, who missed the second half with a groin injury. It limited him to one tackle, by far his fewest in an otherwise ultra-productive 32-game career.
  • Linebacker Bobby Okereke, who was scheduled to have a procedure Monday to address a thumb injury.
  • Left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who suffered a rib injury.
  • Linebacker E.J. Speed, who was scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) to determine the severity of an elbow injury.
  • Cornerback T.J. Carrie, who missed the Bears game after suffering a hamstring injury in last Thursday’s practice.

Reich was unable to offer any insight whether any of that group will be available when the Colts travel to Cleveland Sunday for a match-up of 3-1 AFC teams.

“We’ll evaluate them this week and really just see how they progress,’’ he said.

It’s been that type of opening to the season for the Colts, for the entire league. The Browns announced Monday they’ve placed leading rusher Nick Chubb on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.

“With our injuries, there’s no way to address that other than to say it is what it is,’’ Reich said. “The guys who can play will, and they’re going to play well. It doesn’t change for us. There is no other alternative mindset.

“Whatever the injuries are – they mount up or however many or to whom – it makes no difference. Sure, each one is important. You care about every person, and it means something to us personally. But as far as the team is concerned, that doesn’t change you mindset.

“The Browns don’t care.’’

Not that it’s a comfort, but Reich and his staff already have shown an ability to adapt to significant personnel losses. Consider the week-to-week losses:

Training Camp

Tight end Trey Burton (calf) and defensive tackle Sheldon Day (knee): Burton made his Colts’ debut Sunday while Day remains on IR even though he returned to practice last week and is eligible to be activated.

Week 1

Running back Marlon Mack (ruptured right Achilles) and tight end Jack Doyle (knee): Mack is done for the season while Doyle missed one game.

Week 2: 

Safety Malik Hooker (Achilles), wideout Parris Campbell (knee) and linebacker Matthew Adams (ankle): All three are on IR. Hooker’s injury is season-ending. Campbell is out indefinitely after having surgery to address two damaged ligaments in his left knee. Adams should return at some point.

Before the Minnesota Vikings game, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin was taken to the hospital with what was a non-football-related stomach issue. He missed two games. Ya-Sin appeared to suffer an injury late against the Bears, but Reich said he could have returned.

“Rock’s good,’’ he said.

Week 3: 

Rookie wideout Michael Pittman Jr. needed a procedure to address a compartment syndrome in his lower right leg. He’s also on IR, but probably returns after the week 7 bye.

Week 4: 

Leonard, Castonzo, Okereke and Castonzo.

And since we’re on the subject, let’s remember defensive end Kemoko Turay remains on the physically unable to perform list while still rehabbing a dislocated right ankle. He’ll miss at least the first half of the season.

Neither Reich nor general manager Chris Ballard has ever used injuries as a crutch. Like virtually every team, the Colts have simply filled in and moved on.

Reich used Mack’s season-ending injury as a prime example.

“I mean we miss Marlon,’’ he said. “Marlon’s a great player. That’s always an interesting question because yes, you miss the guy. But . . . you move on and everyone can be replaced. I really believe that. I’ve always thought that with coach or player.

“Everyone’s incredibly important, but everyone can be replaced. That’s the fairest way to say it.’’

The Colts went against the grain when rosters were cut to 53. They carried seven linebackers on the active roster.

Now, it’s possible they’ll be without four on their trip to Cleveland: Leonard, Okereke, Speed and Adams.

Rookie linebacker Jordan Glasgow might suddenly find himself in the mix. He’s emerged as a core special teams player and contributed a deflected punt and one authoritative hit on Bears’ return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson at Soldier Field.

But through four games, Glasgow’s rookie season has consisted of 76 special teams plays and zero on defense.

Perhaps that changes.

“Yeah, there’s no free rides here,’’ Reich said. “This isn’t college. We’ve got a limited roster, so you’ve gotta be able to step in and play winning football.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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