INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A difficult task has become even more difficult for the Indianapolis Colts.
With Sunday’s road matchup with defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia looming, the Colts announced Friday they would be without six prominent players: tight end Jack Doyle (hip), running back Marlon Mack (hamstring/foot), left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion) and defensive tackles Denico Autry (ankle) and Hassan Ridgeway (calf).
On the plus side, Pro Bowl wideout T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) returned to practice Friday after missing the previous two days. He’s only missed two games since 2012, and isn’t expected to make it three.
Doyle’s absence is a rarity, and will impact the offense. The Cathedral H.S. product has missed only two games since the Colts claimed him off waivers from Tennessee in May 2013.
Doyle had 80 receptions a year ago – the second-highest total in team history for a tight end – and resumed his role as one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets this season. He’s been targeted 15 times, second to Hilton’s 22, and has nine catches for 80 yards. Doyle also has contributed as a blocker.
Doyle injured his hip in the first half of last Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins, but remained in the game. He was on the field for 59 of the Colts’ 61 offensive snaps.
“Just a testament to his toughness,’’ coach Frank Reich said, adding Doyle’s injury “happened in the second quarter. He felt it, but it kind of settled down and he said, ‘Hey, I can finish.’
“It’s his toughness. The guy is just a football player. That’s what we’re looking for. Amazing that he could finish.’’
The Colts will make a roster move to compensate for the loss of Doyle. Reich described Doyle’s status as “week-to-week,’’ which might indicate he could miss more than the Eagles game. Tight ends Erik Swoope and Mo Alie-Cox are on the practice squad.
Hilton’s return is critical for the Colts. He leads the team with 12 catches and 129 yards, and his two TDs share the team lead with Eric Ebron.
Reich generally believes a player needs to practice during the week to be at full strength for a game, but also conceded he adheres to a case-by-case philosophy.
“My opinion is missing practice is never good, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do,’’ he said. “Certainly when it’s a guy like T.Y., who has as many games under his belt as he does, you feel a little bit better about it.’’
Castonzo will miss a third straight game with his hamstring issue, and it’s possible that streak will continue past Sunday.
“I will hold to what I said from the very beginning,’’ Reich said. “I thought it was a minor setback. We think he’s making good progress. Just want to play it conservative.’’
Reich reiterated the team does not anticipate placing Castonzo on the injured reserve list.