Colts' Art Jones seeking 2nd opinion on injured ankle
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Art Jones' second season in Indianapolis is starting the same, frustrating way as his first - with an ankle injury.
After hobbling off the field on Saturday night's the first defensive series, the Colts still don't know whether one of their better run-stoppers will play in the season-opener Sept. 13 at Buffalo. Coach Chuck Pagano said Monday team officials were waiting for a second opinion on Jones' injured left ankle.
Losing Jones for any significant amount of time could be a major blow for a team trying to solidify its run defense and make a Super Bowl run.
''It sucks that he went down,'' defensive end Kendall Langford said. ''But we've got guys here and everybody has to step up their game now.''
The problem: Not many of the potential replacements are as big or versatile as Jones, Indy's prized free-agent signing in 2014. At 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, the defensive tackle has lined up inside and outside for Indianapolis.
A sprained right ankle cost Jones seven games in 2014, and he was not nearly as effective as the Colts expected. Jones finished the season with 15 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.
With Langford and a healthy Jones at training camp, the Colts looked like they might finally have two key ingredients to stopping the run more consistently.
Now the Colts may be looking at a contingency plan.
Rather than listing Jones as day to day or week to week Monday, like everyone else on the Colts' injury report, Pagano said only that Jones was getting another opinion and that the team was waiting for more information.
The result of the next exam also could dictate what the Colts do. They reached the roster limit of 75 on Monday afternoon. But if the diagnosis on Jones is that he'll miss more than a few weeks, Indy still might put Jones on injured reserve-designated for return.
Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton missed practice Monday after going through the concussion protocol following Saturday night's 24-14 victory at St. Louis. Running backs Vick Ballard (hamstring) and rookie Josh Robinson (concussion) both sat out, too. First-round draft pick Phillip Dorsett (bruised right knee) returned to practice and former starting left guard Donald Thomas was released in Indy's first round of cuts.
After signing a four-year deal with Indy in 2013, Thomas missed all but two games with a torn right quad. He tore the same muscle at training camp in 2014 and missed the entire season.
''He's been on a tough road and a long journey and we just wish him the best,'' Pagano said of Thomas.
Pagano also named Khaled Holmes the starting center over Jonotthan Harrison. The two had both taken snaps with the starting offense over the past two preseason games.
''Jon and I had a great competition, and I always stayed confident in my ability and what I could do,'' Holmes said. ''But it's great to get that vote of confidence from the coach.''
The bigger question is Jones' availability for the opener, especially since the Bills named the elusive Tyrod Taylor their starting quarterback.
Notes: Indy also released offensive linemen Harland Gunn, Tyler Hoover and Brandon Vitabile; linebackers Nicklas Haag, Zack Hodges and Justin Shirk; receivers Ryan Lankford and Ezell Ruffin; tight end Justin Sinz, running back Abou Toure and defensive lineman Jeris Pendleton. Cornerback Tevin Mitchell went on injured reserve, while cornerbacks Deveron Carr and Donald Celiscar and will revert to injured reserve if he clears waivers.
Online: AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL