You don't generally hear about serious injuries coming out of an in-season NFL practice, considering they're controlled and relatively light. That's why it was so startling to see the news that Vick Ballard is suddenly done for the season.
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Ballard, who shares time at running back on the Colts with Ahmad Bradshaw and started the season opener, suffered a torn ACL on a freak non-contact injury in Thursday's practice, the Indianapolis Star reported.
“We feel awful for Vick,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano told he Star. “We’ll deal with it. No one handles adversity like us.”
The injury is bad for Ballard, who had 814 rushing yards last season as a rookie and had 63 yards on 13 carries against the Raiders last week. You don't want to lose a year of your professional career to a knee injury suffered without contact in practice.
This means more will be asked of former Giant Ahmad Bradshaw. In his first game with the Colts, Bradshaw had 26 yards on seven carries. He missed most of training camp and didn't play at all in the preseason because of a foot injury, and isn't the best bet to stay healthy with a full share of carries in Indianapolis. Perennial disappointment Donald Brown, who didn't touch the ball in the opener, will get another shot to contribute.
Injuries happen in the NFL all the time, but the Colts didn't figure on losing one of their key offensive players in this way.