Heading into Sunday’s game at Baltimore (1 p.m., CBS Sports), the Indianapolis Colts could be as healthy as they’ve been in several weeks.
Tight ends Dallas Clark (fibula) and Brody Eldridge (hand), along with linebackers Pat Angerer (knee) and Ernie Sims (toe), all figure to play against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Clark has been sidelined since he suffered a broken bone in his left leg in the Colts’ Nov. 6 home game with Atlanta. Angerer and Sims were hurt in last Sunday’s loss to New England.
“It appears [Clark] will play because he’s practiced well the last couple of days. Ernie practiced well. Both guys [Sims and Angerer] practiced,” Colts coach Jim Caldwell said Friday.
Clark is happy to be back and hopeful of being able to contribute.
“It’s been very exciting to get back out there with my teammates and just out there in the daily routine. When you’re injured, part of you just feels instantly removed from the team and it’s tough. [I] just took the time necessary for my injury to heal and it’s gone fairly well. I think there are still some question marks, but the time that I’ve been out there has gone well,” he said Friday, adding that the injury was a freak one.
“I just took a [hit from a] knee during the Atlanta game and it’s just one of those one-in-a-million types of hits. It was unfortunate. I’ve taken thousands of those types of hits and nothing has ever happened. But it was kind of perfect force, perfect storm and all of that. It’s just one of those things that you just deal with. Anytime an injury happens, it’s always bad timing, so it’s just unfortunate. But I was happy with how it healed and I hope to be able to get out there and play on Sunday.”
Angerer, meanwhile, was injured on the first defensive series against the Patriots. He stayed in the game for a few plays after being hurt, but the pain and the stability in the knee became an issue.
“It wasn’t anything illegal, [the Patriots player] made a good block. I felt it pop and it hurt,” he said this week. “The initial symptoms were of something that was worse. And it was sore the next day, but it’s gradually gotten better. The swelling has gone down, so it’s a good deal.”
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n Christensen’s advice — Colts offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen emphasized taking care of the football against the Ravens’ opportunistic defensive unit.
“Our word this week has been ‘decisive.’ This bunch thrives on if you’re not decisive, then they create doubts. If all of a sudden, you’re a guard and you come off of the ball and you’re not sure, then [the Ravens] whack you in the mouth and knock you back. If you’re a quarterback and you’re not decisive, then all of a sudden [safety Ed Reed] shows up and picks it,” Christensen explained Friday.
“If you’re indecisive in the pocket, you’ve just got to throw it away. It didn’t happen, throw it away. Now, if you start scrambling or holding that [the ball] or patting it, then they’re going to hit you hard. So our whole thing is we’ve got to be decisive.”
Christensen is a fan of Reed, who was a college roommate of Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
“He is special. He’s probably the best defensive player since I’ve been in the league in the last 16 years,” the Colts’ offensive assistant said. “He makes plays and I like how he just plays the game. He’s got no fear.”
n Tough running game — Colts defensive coordinator Mike Murphy has an interesting way of describing Baltimore’s rugged running attack.
“This week, we’ll face baseball bats and tire irons. They’re going to come out and try to beat you up. But I think you can’t forget the fact that they throw the ball well and they will throw the ball,” Murphy said Friday.
“Sometimes you get enamored with, ‘Hey, they’re going to beat you up and run the ball,’ which they will. Against Cleveland, I think they ran it 55 times. Cleveland wasn’t stopping it and the weather was bad. Their [offensive] coordinator [Cam Cameron] wants to throw the ball, so I expect them to throw the ball.”
n Injury list — Sitting out Friday’s practice were linebacker A.J. Edds (ankle) and offensive guard Joe Reitz (knee).
Angerer (knee), Clark (fibula), TE Brody Eldridge (hand), Sims (toe), defensive end Dwight Freeney (rest), wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (groin), fullback Ryan Mahaffey (concussion), defensive end Robert Mathis (rest), center Jeff Saturday (rest) and Wayne (rest) all fully participated in the workout.
Quarterback Peyton Manning (neck) and Edds are listed as out for the Baltimore game. Everybody else is questionable.