INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Much needed help for the Indianapolis Colts’ offense might come from a familiar face.
T.Y. Hilton returned to practice Wednesday and, somewhat surprisingly, was a full participant. During the early portion of practice, he ran, made sharp cuts on the turf and caught passes from Andrew Luck.
The full-participant description on the daily injury report means it was just another day of the office for Hilton. No restrictions.
The four-time Pro Bowl wideout missed the last two games with chest and hamstring injuries – that matches the number of games he missed in his first seven seasons – and his full-go status Wednesday would seem to increase the likelihood he’s on pace to return for Sunday’s meeting with the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Hilton wants to make certain he isn’t at risk of aggravating the hamstring injury, but was blunt before practice when asked if he could play even if he isn’t 100 percent.
“My less (than 100 percent) is better than most people’s (100 percent),’’ he said with a smile. “I’m going to make sure I’m healthy. I don’t want to go out there and hurt myself. I’ll give it a test today.
“It’s a must-win game so I’ve got to be out there.’’
Hilton sustained his injuries last month against Houston. In his absence, the receiving corps has taken a major step back. Although there’s no reliable source on charting dropped passes, the Colts have dropped between 15-18 the last three games.
Injuries continue to complicate the situation. In the aftermath of Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets, Marcus Johnson was placed on the injured reserve list with an ankle injury. Also, Ryan Grant exited the game in the second half with an ankle injury and did not practice Wednesday.
The Colts signed free agent Dontrelle Inman Tuesday and added K.J Brent to the practice squad.
“I know they need me,’’ Hilton said. “I did everything I can to get back and I’ll test it out today and see what’s up.’’
Despite missing two games, Hilton ranks second on the team with 294 receiving yards, fifth with 21 receptions and tied for second with 2 touchdowns.
Watching the Colts struggle has been difficult.
“It’s terrible,’’ Hilton said. “Just watching it on TV, not being there with them. It hurts me. It hurts me a lot.
“In seven years I missed two games and now it’s two more. I just hate it. I hate watching.’’
Obviously, Hilton’s availability for Sunday won’t be determined until later in the week.
Other players returning for at least a portion of practice were defensive end Margus Hunt (knee) and safety Clayton Geathers (neck/concussion).
Held out of practice were Grant, defensive lineman Denico Autry (hamstring), tight end Jack Doyle (hip), cornerback Arthur Maulet (hip) and running back Robert Turbin (shoulder).
Tight end Erik Swoope (knee) was limited.
Goode: appealing fine
Linebacker Najee Goode was stunned when he received the official correspondence from the NFL: he had been fined $20,054 for making contact with Tom Brady’s helmet during the Oct. 4 loss at New England. He was penalized on the play for roughing the quarterback.
“I brushed his helmet,’’ Goode said, correcting the description.
“Me, personally, I can’t explain it.’’
Then he did.
“Tom Brady,’’ he said.
Goode has appealed the fine, and is optimistic it will be overturned.
“I think they can see it wasn’t intentional,’’ he said. “Twenty grand. I don’t got it. I don’t got it.’’
Technically, he does.
Goode is playing under a one-year, $790,000 contract. That translates into a per-game paycheck of $46,470.