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Indianapolis Colts: Vick Ballard's Injury Leaves Team Thin at RB

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COMMENTARY | The news from the Indianapolis Colts that starting running back Vick Ballard is lost for the season to a knee injury is about what a person would expect on Friday the 13th. This stroke of bad luck leaves the Colts perilously thin at the position and places a black cloud over the hopes for the season.

Ballard was actually injured in Thursday's practice -- a non-contact injury to his right ACL, according to head coach Chuck Pagano -- but for Colts fans who were hoping to get through Friday the 13th without any bad luck, the announcement was a punch to the gut.

The plan was to ease Ahmad Bradshaw and his surgically-repaired feet back into action slowly, eventually working him into a 50/50 split for carries with Ballard as the season progressed. In Week 1's near-disaster against the Oakland Raiders, Ballard had 13 carries to Bradshaw's seven.

Now Bradshaw, who missed the entire preseason while recovering from off-season foot surgery, is pushed into the starter role ... with a new team, having next to no practice under his belt, not yet in game shape, and running on newly-fixed feet.

His backup will now be the ever-underwhelming Donald Brown. Rookie Kerwynn Williams get the call to duty from the Colts practice squad to serve as the No. 3 back.

In the short-term, the Miami Dolphins and their stout front seven come to town on Sunday after holding Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson to just 47 rushing yards in Week 1. The Colts' prospects for developing any sort of meaningful running game against the Dolphins to take the pressure off of Andrew Luck and the passing game appear bleak.

Let's not forget the games against the ferocious defenses of the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks that are just over the horizon. Ugh.

For the remainder of the season, can Bradshaw's health hold up? How long will it take him to get into game shape and in the full swing of the Colts' playbook after spending the first six years of his career with the New York Giants?

And what if anything happens to Bradshaw over the course of the next 15 games? The team's choices are the pedestrian Brown or the rookie Williams who didn't make the final cut down to 53 after training camp.

Someone pass the Pepto Bismol, please.

In the long-term, a knee injury to a running back is never good news, so Colts fans will hold their collective breath, waiting to see what impact this has on Ballard's ability to continue his NFL career.

Perhaps it's worth the Colts kicking the tires on some free agent running backs such as Willis McGahee, Michael Turner, Cedric Benson or even Beanie Wells. That wouldn't solve the short-term problem of having no running attack to speak of for a few weeks, but it might provide some longer-term insurance in the event that something happens to Bradshaw.

In any case, it's been a lousy Friday the 13th in Colts Nation.

The author is a resident of central Indiana and a long-time follower of the Indianapolis Colts.

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