The Colts appear primed to make a run at winning the AFC South.
But with rosters needing to be reduced to 53 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, there is still some uncertainty about linebacker Shaquille Leonard‘s availability to start the season.
Leonard has been sidelined since undergoing back surgery in June. He’s been on the active/physically unable to perform list throughout training camp. If he goes to the reserve/PUP list, he’ll be out for at least Indianapolis’ first four games.
Leonard was able to go through an on-field workout before the Colts’ preseason finale against the Buccaneers over the weekend, which head coach Frank Reich called “very encouraging.”
“Shaq, we were just talking about this — from the start of OTAs, from the start of training camp, has been the consummate pro,” Reich said, via James Boyd of TheAthletic.com. “His maturity as a leader, his maturity as a professional, has been on full display. I don’t think he could’ve done one ounce more or one thing more any better to prepare himself to have the quickest comeback that he can have.
“So now it’s just a question of when he can get cleared to get off of PUP and get back on the practice field, and then how long is that gonna take once he gets back on the practice field? I’m not sure the number of days. We could project about that. I think that’s probably not worth doing. I just know this: Shag has done everything possible to make [his recovery] time, whatever that time is, as short as possible. He’s been a great pro and a great leader.”
Reich has noted before that even if Leonard isn’t ready to play, he needs to come off the PUP list so that he can practice.
The Colts have a significant decision to make when it comes to Leonard over the next day.