Colts suddenly dealing with depth issues

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
6:30
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts have gone from being a healthy team at the start of the regular season, to now having depth concerns before hitting Week 3.

Starting running back Vick Ballard went down with a season-ending knee injury in practice Sept. 12 and then starting guard Donald Thomas suffered a season-ending torn quad muscle in Sunday’s loss to Miami. Thomas is expected to have surgery later this week.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said they feel good about the guys they currently have on the roster. But knowing general manager Ryan Grigson, he’s out looking at all possibilities. Grigson won't hesitate to use every option possible to improve the roster.

Owner Jim Irsay tweeted last week Grigson will look to make a deal before the Oct. 29 trade deadline.

“I’m glad we were able to acquire the pieces that we did through free agency and the draft last year because it brought us more depth and more competition at all spots,” Pagano said. “You hate to lose anybody. You watch any game, you pick up any box score you look stats, it happens. It’s part of the NFL. I feel good about the guys we have at those positions that filled in.”

Rookie Hugh Thornton has moved into the starting left guard spot in Thomas’ place and Ahmad Bradshaw is starting at running back for Ballard. Bradshaw was likely going to become the starter at some point this season. Ballard's injury just sped up the process. Donald Brown is backing up Bradshaw.

The Colts still have eight offensive linemen on the roster. Khaled Holmes and Jeff Linkenbach were inactive against the Dolphins.

"Guys get injured," quarterback Andrew Luck said. "It stinks when it happens. Your heart breaks when it’s Vick Ballard or Donald Thomas, really anybody, it stinks. Whether it’s last year, the head coach going down, or any year when players go down, you got to play and you can’t miss a beat.”

Pagano also said the MRI done on receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey came back negative and that he should be able to return to the field Wednesday or Thursday to get ready for Sunday’s game at San Francisco.

The Colts initially said Heyward-Bey injured his ribs, but Pagano said after the game it was his shoulder.

“I think it’s his whole backside,” Pagano said Monday when asked about the injury. “He’s got a little bit of everything.”

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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