News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 15, 2012

Colts to be without Freeney, maybe Collie, vs. Vikings

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney won’t be playing Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts face off against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium.

And it doesn’t appear wide receiver Austin Collie will be available either.

Freeney left last Sunday’s regular-season opener at Chicago after the eighth play from scrimmage with a sprained left ankle. He did not return to the game and has not practiced this week. Collie, meanwhile, continues to have concussion-related issues after sitting out workouts Thursday and Friday.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano confirmed Friday that Freeney, who has had similar injuries to both ankles in the past, is out indefinitely. Pagano would not say whether or not the injury was a high ankle sprain, which is more serious and could keep him sidelined for a longer period of time.

“Dwight is out,” the first-year coach said, adding that there is no timetable for a scheduled return. “Day-to-day. Someone’s got to step up and fill in. Hate not playing Dwight. He’s missed time in the past. I’m sure the coaching staff [in the past] and his coaches before me felt the same way.

“When you get a player of his caliber that’s not on the field, it always hurts. It’s just like not having [inside linebacker] Pat [Angerer]. We’d all love to have Pat Angerer [out with a fractured foot] out there every snap also. But injuries happen, so it’s next man up.”

As for Collie — who suffered his fourth concussion since the start of the 2010 season in an Aug. 19 preseason game with the Pittsburgh Steelers — Pagano said the receiver fully practiced Wednesday but wasn’t feeling well a day later.

“He had a great day Wednesday and then came in Thursday morning, wasn’t feeling quite 100 percent. So we deferred to the doctors and they felt like it would be best for Austin to sit out the next couple days of practice,” the coach explained. “We always err on the side of caution and listen to the doctors. We’ll go from there.”

And the prognosis for Sunday?

“He’s doubtful,” Pagano said.

Right offensive tackle Winston Justice, who incurred a concussion in the second half of last Sunday’s game at Chicago, has practiced this week and is expected to start.

• Hilton should be ready — Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is expected back after missing last Sunday’s game. Hilton was still on the mend after tweaking his shoulder in a preseason game with Washington on Aug. 25.

He will probably split duty with rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill returning punts and kickoffs against the Vikings on Sunday.

“We’ll give him a shot,” Pagano said. “He can do both.”

• Tickets available — Minnesota returned more than 300 tickets for Sunday’s game against the Colts.

The game, which has been officially sold out, will be televised on Fox Sports.

• South Vermillion, Rockville youth teams on display — Youth league teams representing the Rockville and South Vermillion high school districts will be playing at Lucas Oil Stadium after Sunday’s game.

Youth teams from around the state have played at halftime and after Colts games for the past several years.