The well being standing of Shaquille Leonard has been one of many dominant storylines for the Colts this offseason. The All-Pro linebacker had the possibility to play within the staff’s season opener, however that won’t occur. 

Indianapolis confirmed on Friday that Leonard is out for the sport in opposition to the Texans. Leonard continues to work his approach again from offseason back surgery geared toward relieving the ache in his decrease physique he performed by final yr. Despite by no means being at 100%, the previous second-rounder put up an All-Pro and Pro Bowl efficiency for the third time in his four-year profession.

The process landed Leonard on the PUP checklist in July, however he and the staff remained optimistic through the summer season that he might be prepared in time for the common season. With his availability nonetheless clouded, the staff faced the decision of activating him with the understanding that he wouldn’t be totally recovered or maintaining him on the reserve checklist, which might have assured a four-week absence.

Electing in opposition to the latter, Leonard did certainly return to practice last week. As head coach Frank Reich indicated on the time, although, it was not sure when precisely Leonard would be capable to swimsuit up. Friday’s announcement doesn’t breed any elevated optimism {that a} Week 2 return is likelier than it was earlier within the week. The substantial impression Leonard has on the staff and the numerous compensation he’s nonetheless owed make a cautious strategy the logical one for all concerned.

In Leonard’s absence, the Colts will lean extra closely on starters Zaire Franklin and Bobby Okereke on the second degree of their protection. Grant Stuard, JoJo Domann and E.J. Speed may even probably see elevated utilization.

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