Prognosis is good for Jack Doyle, but kidney injury ends his season

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A frustrating season for Jack Doyle essentially ended on a seemingly uneventful reception in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.

The Indianapolis Colts’ Pro Bowl tight end suffered a kidney injury on the play that sent him to an area hospital Sunday evening for a procedure to “control the injury,’’ Frank Reich said Monday evening.

Reich declined to elaborate on the procedure, but insisted it “went well and everything’s good.

“The prognosis is good, but we’re going to have to place him on injured reserve.’’

Doyle is expected to be released for the hospital soon, according to Reich, but the former Cathedral H.S. standout’s sixth season with the Colts is over.

“Unfortunate,’’ Reich said.

That sums up Doyle’s season. He was coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance after catching 80 passes in 2017, the second-most by a tight end in team history.

However, Doyle missed five games earlier in the season with a hip injury, and now this.

The injury apparently occurred early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 27-24 win over Miami. Doyle ran a short route, turned and caught a 7-yard pass from Andrew Luck. He immediately was wrapped up by safety T.J. McDonald. Linebackers Kiko Alonso and Davon Godchaux arrived and hit Doyle on his left side.

Doyle remained on the ground for a few seconds before getting up, looking at the sideline and tapping his helmet. That’s a sign he needed to come out of the game.

“Came off, told the trainers, ‘Hey, took a big hit,’’’ Reich said. “Came back in, tried to play I think two or three plays, but couldn’t do it.’’

Reich received a text Sunday evening informing him of the nature of Doyle’s injury, and that surgery would be required.

It marks the second time in three seasons the Colts have had a player suffer a season-ending kidney injury. Luck sustained a lacerated kidney that did not require surgery in a 27-24 win over Denver Nov. 8, 2015.

One stat to keep in mind as the Colts move forward without the trusty, versatile Doyle: they’re 5-1 with him in the lineup this season, 1-4 without him. Along with being one of Luck’s more reliable receivers, Doyle had greatly improved as a blocker.

“A really, really good football player,’’ Reich said. “He can give you everything you want at the point of attack and then in the passing game, you’d better not take him lightly because he has proven he’ll catch 80 balls on you and catch a bunch of touchdowns.

“Andrew trusts him. He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be, catch the ball and make plays. That’s what he does. Then he can line up and block for you.’’

Along with his career-best 80 catches last season, Doyle had 690 yards and four TDs.

Doyle’s injury complicates the Colts’ situation at tight end. While Eric Ebron continued his breakout season – two more touchdown catches pushed his season total to 11 – three tight ends were inactive with injuries: Erik Swoope (knee), Mo Alie-Cox (ankle) and Ryan Hewitt (ankle).

“We’re hopeful and optimistic that some of those guys – one or two or all three – will be ready,’’ Reich said of Sunday’s trip to Jacksonville.

Failing that, a roster move undoubtedly will be required.

Along with Doyle, the Colts might be without two more offensive front-liners when they attempt to stretch their winning streak to six games for the first time since 2009. Center Ryan Kelly missed the Miami game with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and running back Marlon Mack was forced from the Dolphins game in the fourth quarter with a concussion.

Not that it was needed, but Doyle’s situation was a reminder of the perilous nature of the NFL.

“Yeah it is,’’ Reich said. “But again, obviously when you start talking of having a kidney injury, you don’t like the sound of that. But I can’t emphasize enough the prognosis is good. I’m sure whatever degree it was, it’ll work itself out over time.

“But it is a physical game. There’s no getting around that. Every player who plays and has played knows that’s part of the risk that they take. But again, I always put it in context. There’s a lot of other jobs out there in the world that are dangerous. It’s dangerous being a fireman It’s dangerous being a policeman.

“There are risks that you take playing this game.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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