WESTFIELD, Ind. – The hush was deafening. The response by players and team personnel spoke volumes.
During 11-on-11 work at Thursday’s final training camp practice against the Cleveland Browns, Reece Fountain went down on an otherwise uneventful play. His reaction – screaming and reaching for his left ankle – made it clear this wasn’t one of those minor strains or tweaks.
The Indianapolis Colts’ second-year receiver suffered a “significant’’ ankle injury, according to Frank Reich. A source confirmed Fountain sustained a dislocation and fracture, details first reported by NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
“He’s at the hospital being treated,’’ Reich said. “Gonna get the best care in the world. We will do whatever it takes to support him and he’ll bounce back.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Reece. He’s had a great camp. He’s worked extremely hard and looked extremely good.’’
Reich said Fountain was injured on a “toss-sweep to the left.’’
“I was watching the runner and the next thing I know, I just saw Reece on the ground.’’
Players and medical personnel quickly rushed to Fountain. Soon, general manager Chris Ballard joined to offer support. Owner Jim Irsay and Reich were there.
Fountain first was placed on a stretcher, then transferred to a golf cart and taken off the field. One of the last players to pat Fountain was fellow wideout Deon Cain. His rookie season ended with a torn ACL in last year’s preseason opener.
“Tragedy always happens,’’ Cain said, “but guys on this side, we know he’ll bounce back. The main thing I can be right now is supportive. Just let God take control of it.
“I was in the same spot he’s in. At the end of the day I’m just gonna pray for him. I’m going to try to talk to him and see how he’s doing.’’
Fountain, a 2018 fifth-round pick, was in the midst of a solid camp and was in serious contention to earn a spot on the 53-player regular-season roster. He led the Colts with five receptions and 63 yards in the preseason opener at Buffalo.
The Colts didn’t exactly enjoy a strong start-to-finish experience Thursday. Offensively, protection problems surfaced in the joint work with the Cleveland Browns.
“I thought offensively we finished strong,’’ Reich said. “We had some shaky moments in the middle from a protection standpoint. It was really disappointing in a sense. We led the league last year in fewest sacks and all that stuff.
“To come out here and not handle the pressure the way they brought it, we’ve got to learn from that. We’ve got to take our medicine and say, ‘Hey, we got beat today from a protection standpoint.’ Now the good news was I thought we bounced back from it with the later periods.’’
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