The Indianapolis Colts have lost starting left guard Donald Thomas for the second season in a row.
Thomas went down late in practice on Wednesday with a loud yell and rolled around on the ground for a moment. He was able to limp away from the scrimmage, and attempted to walk off the pain before being escorted off the field by a trainer.
Rumors swirled last night that he had re-torn his quad and this morning an MRI confirmed the news. Thomas played in just two games before the quad and a torn bicep sent him to IR in 2013.
Thomas had been easing back into practice, taking series off much like the rest of the players returning from IR. Rookie Jake Mewhort had been filling in with the first team offense.
Thomas was also the team’s backup option at center. The interior of the offensive line once again looks unsettling. The Colts will be going with two second-year players and a rookie across the guards and center spot.
The Colts have become a joke with injuries over the past five season. While they have some of the best surgeons and doctors in the state on their training staff, there is clearly something wrong with the team’s approach.
They generally rank in the bottom of the league in terms of games lost due to injury and were 31st last season. And now there are already injuries piling up with Vick Ballard already on IR.
Cornerback Vontae Davis and safety LaRon Landry have yet to practice and can generally be found rehabbing on a far field during practice. Their injuries are described as “soft tissue” but no one seems to understand what that means.
Injury expert Will Carroll tried to figure out what that meant and came to the conclusion that the team is challenging those players to get back on the field.
The team is even taking an approach that is designed to limit injuries.
“We looked at all the guys last year to find common threads, common themes,” coach Chuck Pagano said, “(to) do everything that we can, within our power, to be proactive so that we don’t place 17 guys on IR again.”
“It’s about understanding how much volume (there is) in terms of plays, charting how many plays guys are getting each day, charting how fast they’re moving at practice, how many yards they’re covering at practice, and then correlating that when the injuries occur,” Pagano said. “Is it Day 2, Day 3, Day 4?”
So the Colts will keep players with a minor injury off the field for a few days, like Trent Richardson and his sore hamstring, but will still challenge those players to get back on the field faster? Sure, that makes sense.
Its past time for the Colts to take a long hard look at the training staff and how they are approaching injury management.