Anthony Gonzalez is helped off the field after injuring his right knee in the first quarter Sunday.
It’s never a good thing when a receiver split wide goes down untouched as Gonzalez did in the first quarter of Indy's 14-12 win over Jacksonville at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The team called it a right knee injury shortly after he was helped off the field and said his return was questionable. He was on the bench briefly with doctors huddled around him, then was never seen again. The team offered no further details about him after the game.
“I’m sick about Gonzalez, whatever his injury is going to be,” Manning said. “Anytime you see a guy go down. I didn’t see it, I actually asked [Jacksonville cornerback Rashean] Mathis what happened and he said, ‘I didn’t even touch him, he went down.’ I got a sick feeling about that. He worked so hard this offseason, I sure hope that it’s not a season-ending injury. I hope he’s back soon. He’s a huge part of our offense.”
Manning said he pushed teammates to move on, but at the same time didn’t want to dishonor or disrespect Gonzalez or forget about what they lost.
Reggie Wayne was fantastic as the lead receiver. Manning joked about the new line in the official NFL stat pack that identifies how many times a receiver is targeted will complicate his life. The number for Wayne was 14 against the Jags. He caught 10 for 162 yards and a touchdown.
The quarterback also liked what he got out of the team’s third and fourth receivers, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, who combined for five catches for 39 yards. Collie is primarily a slot guy, so Garcon will see more action while Gonzalez is out.
“For us to be the kind of team that we want this year, we’re going to need Anthony Gonzalez back so I sure hope he’s able to get back,” Manning said. “Until then, Pierre came in and it’s probably the most I’ve heard him speak in the two years he’s been here. So I guess you have to get him on the field to get him to start speaking.
“I thought he had a good look in his eye out there, he was talking to me, he said, ‘Hey, here’s what 27 [Mathis] is doing, here’s what I can do.’ I like that kind of feedback. Collie, he’s got a good look in his eye. I don’t think anything is overwhelming him out there. So those guys got great experience on opening day. They’re going to be huge until Gonzalez gets back and hopefully that will be soon.”
As far as a person in power commenting on Gonzalez’s condition, here’s all coach Jim Caldwell had to say when asked if he had more info: “I certainly don’t. I do not, not at this time. We’ll get a sense a little bit later on.”
Said Manning when asked if he thought the team could call Marvin Harrison: "Oh, I don't know what personnel is going to do about that. Obviously we're possibly going to have to rely on the tight ends a little bit more. We worked more three-wides in today’s game because we thought that was kind of the best way to attack them. So we'll see what personnel is going to do."