Colts seem intentionally vague on Collins

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
4:51
PM ET
My opinion: The Indianapolis Colts know if Kerry Collins has a concussion. They knew earlier today when Jim Caldwell talked to the media.

That they are unwilling to disclose it is their prerogative.

[+] EnlargeKerry Collins
AP Photo/AJ MastColts quarterback Kerry Collins left Sunday night's game with concussion-like symptoms.
But such an approach leaves the appearance that, because of the procedures now in place to clear a player to return from a concussion, they are being super careful about what they say so they can get him back more easily, sooner.

Say Collins has a concussion and you can’t get it back in the bottle. He’d have to be cleared by an independent doctor to return. Say you’re still evaluating it and you leave open avenues for a more hasty return.

“He’s still being evaluated, but he had those kinds of symptoms,” Caldwell said. “The doctor’s did what they’re supposed to do in that regard, which is to remove him from the ball game and continue to evaluate him. He’s still in that process right now.”

Caldwell said the team isn’t sure when the concussion occurred, the sort of thing he sometimes says for which I cannot fathom the rationale. Sometimes it's as if he wants to appear to be outside the loop.

The most likely play where an injury happened was a third-quarter hit on Collins by James Farrior that the quarterback seemed to think was worthy of a roughing the passer penalty based on the way he looked at a nearby official as he picked himself up.

“I saw a couple of situations where it could have happened, but I’m not exactly sure,” Caldwell said. “I haven’t spoken to him exactly in terms of which one it was, because, obviously, he didn’t come out of the game right when it occurred. It was something that got progressively worse.”

(Typical question for the Colts/Caldwell in such a situation: Why not? Why wouldn’t the head coach talk with his quarterback to find out when the quarterback believes he suffered the concussion? If he considers it unimportant, I’d like to know that.)

In reading what Caldwell said the day after a tough loss to the Steelers, his words seem typically measured. They seem determined to walk a line, a line I think maximizes ultimate options.

I’m not suggesting they’d put Collins back in action sooner than was safe or permissible. Just that if he recovers quickly they'll be able to get him back to work without relying on anyone not connected to the franchise.

It sounds as if the team will make a determination about who starts Monday night in Tampa Bay by Thursday.

“The easiest way to explain it is that we look at the complete body of work, and make a determination on it,” Caldwell said. ”Then, we move on from there. We’d certainly like to make a determination here in the couple of days, because we do have an extra day. We’ll wait and see exactly how it all unfolds, and make a decision once we get ready to start preparation.”

That doesn’t make it sound like Collins getting clearance to return from a concussion is going to be a piece of the puzzle. Though Caldwell could get the results of the ongoing evaluation at any time, which could change that.

He did leave open the possibility that the team will have to bring in another quarterback, with a sweeping “we have to look at all possibilities, and that’s our job to cover all those bases.”

I’m sure they’ll keep us posted.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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