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DAVIE, Fla. -- Veteran left guard Ryan Lilja missed the second day of the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts’ practice week Thursday with what coach Jim Caldwell called a back injury that he did not think would jeopardize the six-year-veteran’s status for Sunday’s Super Bowl match against the New Orleans Saints.
“I suspect he’ll be ready to play,’’ Caldwell said as night fell in south Florida, after the Colts’ two-hour, 15-minute practice that ended under the lights.
The severity of the injury to Lilja, who was one of 20 Colts listed on the injury report, was unclear. Seventeen of those 20 players practiced without restriction Thursday, with only defensive end Dwight Freeney (ankle) and cornerback Jerraud Powers (foot) missing any portion of practice. Both missed the entire workout while receiving treatment inside the Dolphins’ practice facility, Caldwell said.
Asked about the health of Freeney and Powers, Caldwell said: “They’re both improving rapidly.’’ Freeney said earlier in the day he may try to test his grade-three ankle sprain in Friday’s practice or during Saturday’s walkthrough.
Caldwell said this was a typical Colts’ Thursday practice, though almost all of the team’s gameplan was installed last week in Indianapolis. He said the team “wasn’t as sharp as we’d like to be,’’ though you couldn’t tell by the effectiveness of the first-team offense. In four nickel and two-minute offensive sessions in the last hour of practice, Peyton Manning completed 25 of 28 throws against a crew of Colt backups posing at the Saint scout. His last throw in one of the two-minute sessions was a perfectly thrown rollout to Dallas Clark in the end zone. It was the second straight sharp practice for Manning, prepping for his second Super Bowl start in four seasons.
“If you watch us practice,’’ Caldwell said, “the thing you notice with Peyton is the ball is not on the ground very often. The way he threw today was typical Peyton.’’
The highlight for the defense was an interception off scout-team quarterback Curtis Painter by linebacker Clint Session on a deflected pass off the hands of backup receiver Hank Baskett. To the cheers of his defensive mates, Session picked the ball off and ran up the left sideline.
For the second straight day, the Colts seemed loose and businesslike on a perfect day for football -- 71 degrees, mostly sunny with a slight wind from the east. Manning finished the last offensive drive of the day as dusk fell on the complex with a short touchdown strike to Clark.
The Colts resume practice Friday at the Dolphins complex at 2:15 p.m., with a final walk-through tuneup here Saturday.