Will Adam Vinatieri keep kicking this year or shut it down?


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – AUGUST 24: Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on before the preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A Thursday afternoon meeting between Adam Vinatieri and the Indianapolis Colts is expected to determine the immediate future of the ailing placekicker.

Vinatieri is experiencing increased discomfort in an unspecified injury to his left knee. It first bothered him during training camp at Westfield in August and has continued to be an off-and-on issue during the season. When it flared up again recently, Vinatieri underwent an MRI on the knee Wednesday.

Consultation with Chris Ballard, the team’s medical staff and others Thursday afternoon will determine whether Vinatieri kicks again this season, or is placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.

The last time Vinatieri missed a game due to injury? Super Bowl XLIV after the 2009 season. He missed 10 regular season games and the entire playoffs following surgery on his right knee.

The most positive outcome involves Vinatieri handling kicking duties Sunday at Tampa Bay.

“I don’t know yet,” he said Thursday, “but I’m hoping so. Hoping I feel well enough to go. But again, we will be able to talk to the docs today to see what it is and what’s going on.”

The worst-case scenario: Vinatieri’s 24th season, and his 14th in Indy, ending with him being placed on IR. The Colts claimed Chase McLaughlin off waivers from San Francisco Wednesday in case Vinatieri is unable to kick.

“I haven’t got that far yet, to be honest with you,” Vinatieri said when asked about the possibility of IR. “I’m just going to see what the docs say and see what we’re doing and treat the heck out of it every single day and see what we can come up with.”

Despite dealing with the knee issue all season, Vinatieri first appeared on the NFL’s weekly injury report Wednesday. He was limited and did not handle his normal kicking duties.

“Some reoccurring pain,” he said. “Went and got an MRI on it. I’m not a doctor. I can’t read that stuff. I don’t know exactly what was done and said, but we’re meeting up with them later in the day.

“No stressing too much today. Just doing treatment and stuff like that. We’ll see how it feels going forward.”

Vinatieri first experienced discomfort with his left knee during camp. It forced him to miss a couple of weeks, but “we got it kind of under control.” He has received constant treatment throughout the season, but the discomfort recently increased. He admitted the pain was “a little more sharp than it was before.”

“Listen, guys go through stuff all the time,” Vinatieri said. “I’ve been able to play through stuff. We’ll be all right.”

The decision – a few weeks of rest or a trip to IR – will be made by “probably a collection of us, I supposed,” he added. “Docs and trainers and everybody will put their two cents in and we’ll see if we can go.

“If I can go, I’ll go.”

The knee issue has contributed to what has been the most disappointing season of Vinatieri’s career. He has missed a career-high 14 kicks – eight field goals and six PATs – but has left 30 points on the field.

This would be the third time in Vinatieri’s career an injury has impact him.

In 2006, he dealt with a broken bone in his left ankle and a groin injury. With Vinatieri missing three games, the team brought in Martin Gramatica, who converted his only field-goal attempt and all nine of his PATs.

In 2009, Vinatieri underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and missed 10 games. Matt Stover filled his void, and would kick in the postseason and Super Bowl against New Orleans even though Vinatieri remained on the active roster.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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