Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton might just play Monday night after all.
The Pro Bowl pass catcher didn't practice Thursday but said his bruised left knee is better. When head coach Chuck Pagano was asked if he had any optimism about Hilton getting back on the practice field this week, Pagano said, "A lot. A lot."
Any optimism that Hilton plays against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football?
"A lot," Pagano repeated.
After Sunday's 27-14 loss at Buffalo, from which Hilton departed in the third quarter, owner Jim Irsay suggested the fourth-year wide receiver could miss "a few weeks." But Hilton said Monday his knee was feeling better and he's continuing to progress with treatment. Hilton led the Colts with seven catches for 88 yards against the Bills.
"Yeah, a game-time decision depending on how I feel," Hilton said. "I’ll talk to (Pagano) about it and see where I go from there."
Of course it's smart for the Colts to say Hilton will play. The Jets will prepare for him, whereas they wouldn't if the outlook was bleak.
Hilton said he would welcome the challenge of going against Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
"That’s what you play the game for, especially on Monday night," Hilton said, "a chance to go against one of the best and see yourself as one of the best. So it should be a great matchup.”
A week ago, outside linebacker Robert Mathis seemed upbeat about the Colts' undisclosed plan for his return. That prompted speculation the Pro Bowl pass rusher would play, but he didn't. He was among the inactives.
Pagano said Mathis is progressing but didn't share if this would be the week for the franchise sack leader to return from a left Achilles tendon tear. For what it's worth, Irsay said during the Colts' preseason finale on Sept. 3 that fans would see Mathis play at home at Lucas Oil Stadium in September. And the Jets game is the Colts' only home game this month.
"We’re still playing it by ear," the coach said of Mathis. "I’d love to be able to give you a definitive answer on it. He’s doing really well. He’s practicing well. He feels good. No residual effects the next day, post-practice and things like that so he’s doing well."
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