After learning that starting quarterback Carson Wentz will miss 5-12 weeks after undergoing surgery for a foot injury suffered during the first week of training camp, the Indianapolis Colts suffered another devastating blow. All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson has suffered a similar foot injury as Wentz and is also expected to miss 5-12 weeks following surgery.
The Colts were banking on a rebound season from Wentz after trading for the former No. 2 overall pick. Playing behind one of the league's best offensive lines was one of the main selling points for Wentz returning to top form in Indianapolis. Now the Colts are without their starting quarterback and their best offensive lineman to start the season.
Nelson is not the only offensive lineman expected to miss the start of the season either. Following the retirement of left tackle Anthony Castonzo after the 2020 season, Indianapolis signed veteran left tackle and former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher to fill the spot. Fisher tore his Achilles in the AFC Championship and is currently rehabbing for the 2021 season and is currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list, so he is not expected to start the season at left tackle.
The Colts' offensive line will now consist of backups at left tackle and left guard, Ryan Kelly at center, Mark Glowinski at right guard, and the recently extended Braden Smith at right tackle. Kelly is expected to miss the next few weeks of practice after suffering an elbow injury, but it is not expected to sideline him for the start of the regular season. Indianapolis will have its depth along the offensive line put to work over the next month or so. Chris Reed will likely replace Nelson at left guard while Sam Tevi will likely fill in for Fisher at left tackle to start the season.
After a close loss to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round of the playoffs last season, the Colts entered the offseason with playoff aspirations once again for the upcoming season. With the Houston Texans falling apart and the Jacksonville Jaguars coming off of a one-win season, Indianapolis' main competition in the division once again appears to be the Tennessee Titans. The Colts and Titans both finished with 11 wins last season but Tennessee won the division due to a tiebreaker over Indianapolis. With a tough stretch of opponents to start the season, the Colts' playoff hopes already appear to be in jeopardy.
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