The Indianapolis Colts could be getting a big lift on the defensive side of the ball soon as All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard will be listed as questionable ahead of the Colts' Week 4 matchup with the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
Per head coach Frank Reich, the Colts will also have defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (elbow) listed as questionable while safety Julian Blackmon (ankle) is out.
Leonard had a procedure on his back in June and has been working toward his return to the field. He's been a full participant in practice for the last few weeks as he regains his strength and gameplay abilities but has been ruled out on the Friday of each game week. This is the first week that he's gone into the weekend as questionable. Reich said they'll determine Leonard's status on Saturday.
In Leonard's absence, Zaire Franklin — who leads the team with 30 tackles through three games — has filled in at MIKE linebacker. E.J. Speed has then filled in for Franklin at SAM linebacker.
Buckner hasn't practiced this week but has never missed a game in the NFL due to injury. However, if he cannot go, then expect to see an added dose of Tyquan Lewis, Byron Cowart, Dayo Odeyingbo, and perhaps Eric Johnson II at the Colts' three-technique defensive tackle spot.
Blackmon left last week's game early with his ankle injury and was replaced in the lineup by rookie seventh-round pick Rodney Thomas II, who played well and may be slated to make his first career start on Sunday against Tennessee. Nick Cross also factors into the equation depending on where defensive coordinator Gus Bradley decides to play Rodney McLeod.