By Tom James
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — During a week in which the biggest injury news concerning the Indianapolis Colts revolved around defensive end Dwight Freeney and his sore right ankle, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers stole the spotlight on Friday.
Wayne, who has played with a gimpy right knee for most of the 2009 season, left practice early on Friday. According to a pool report, the Colts’ Pro Bowl receiver pulled up short while running a pass route late in the day’s workout.
He left practice about 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the workout, walking off the field unassisted and went into the training room at the Miami Dolphins’ practice facility.
Colts head coach Jim Caldwell didn’t appear to be overly concerned about Wayne or his chances of playing Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIV. He is listed as probable to play on the team’s Friday injury list.
“[Wayne] just irritated the fat pad in his knee,” Caldwell said.
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n Rookie returns — Powers made news twice on Friday. The first-year cornerback, who has been sidelined for the past couple of weeks with a foot injury, returned for limited work during the team’s afternoon practice and might be able to play in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday night.
It was also revealed earlier in the day, during a morning press conference with Caldwell, that the defensive back had undergone surgery on the foot. While the medical procedure had been rumored for the last several days, the coach confirmed that the team’s third-round draft pick from Auburn had undergone surgery.
“He had what the doctors, what they referred to as — and I’m going to use their medical description — an ‘internal fixation’ of a fractured foot. And so he had to have it repaired,” the Colts coach explained.
“All of it was done. I’m not quite certain. I couldn’t give you all those details. But it’s something that obviously he’s been able to get himself pretty close to being able to play. So he’s working himself through.”
Caldwell didn’t say when the surgical procedure was performed. Powers was hurt in the second half of the Colts’ final regular-season home game with the New York Jets on Dec. 27.
• Freeney still hopeful — Still no practice time for the Indianapolis defensive end, but that doesn’t mean that he will sit out Super Bowl XLIV.
“He’s trending in the right direction. He’s getting better but we’ll see. It’s still a day to day situation,” Caldwell said, adding that Freeney — who is listed as questionable for the Saints’ game — may do some running or simulated practice work at some point.
“This is right in line with our plans. He’s making very good progress,” the Colts coach said.
• Lilja returns — Offensive guard Ryan Lilja, who sat out Thursday’s workout with a sore back, returned on Friday and is listed as probable for Sunday night.
Lilja returned to the Indianapolis offensive line this season after missing the last year and a half with knee issues. The last two seasons in which he has played completely healthy, the Colts have made it to the Super Bowl (2006, 2009).
Other than Freeney and Powers, who are questionable, the other 18 players on the team’s Friday injury report are listed as probable.
• Hot Manning — Quarterback Peyton Manning has been on target throughout Indianapolis’ pre-Super Bowl workouts.
Manning completed 25 of 28 throws during Thursday’s practice, which got his head coach’s attention.
“If you watch us practice, the thing you notice with Peyton is the ball is not on the ground very often. The way he threw [Thursday] was typical Peyton,” Caldwell said. “We get spoiled because we practice so well all year long.
“Overall, these [Super Bowl practices] were right in line with what we’ve done all year and we’re pleased. The Dolphins have a first-class facility and have given us an open-arms reception. We’re grateful for it. Things have worked out great for us here.”