Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman is “week-to-week” with a hamstring strain, which means the Indianapolis Colts’ second-leading tackler likely misses Sunday night’s game at Pittsburgh.
“He’s got a grade-two hamstring issue, so next man up there,” head coach Chuck Pagano said Monday.
Freeman was chasing Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston out of bounds during the second half of Sunday’s 25-12 win at Lucas Oil Stadium. The linebacker knew something was wrong and waved to come out of the game. He didn’t return.
The fourth-year pro had previously missed practice time with the injury. He had started all 10 games and made 82 tackles with one sack and one pass defended.
Nate Irving, signed to a three-year deal in the offseason after spending four seasons in Denver, is likely the next man up. He had a sack and two tackles Sunday. He’s played in seven games, including one start, with 11 tackles, 10 of them solos.
Pagano’s classifying of players as “week-to-week” typically means they’re at least a week away if not more of getting back on the practice field. Joining Freeman in this status are quarterback Andrew Luck (kidney, abdomen), who has missed the last two games, and offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo (MCL sprain), who sat out Sunday. Rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, the team’s first-round pick last spring, is still on the mend from knee surgery, too.
“A.C. is doing well, still week-to-week,” Pagano said. “Dorsett is doing well. Of course he’s been out doing some stuff with our trainers. Hopefully we might be able to get him back into some individual and some team work this week. Day-to-day on him, but he’s doing well. (Safety) Mike Adams is day-to-day with the hammy still. Andrew (Luck) is still week-to-week with his issues, but doing better, looking better.”
The Colts estimated Luck’s timetable at two to six weeks after he was diagnosed with a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle. That was three weeks ago.
Adams injured an ankle after an interception against Denver. He’s missed the last two games.
Pagano repeated a team announcement from earlier in the day that reserve running back Ahmad Bradshaw had been placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury that will require surgery. Bradshaw scored three touchdowns in six games this season, but has ended up on injured reserve in each of his three Colts seasons.
“It’s devastating,” Pagano said. “You feel awful for the kid. I said kid, he’s a grown man. He’s a warrior. He’s a tough, tough, competitive guy and he lays it all on the line week-in and week-out. He gives you everything he’s got. He’s been through a ton. Very, very productive before he got injured a year ago for us. He was on his way to doing the same thing again for us this year and gets this injury, so it’s tough.
“You hate to lose anybody to injury, especially to a season-ending one. He’s going to be missed. He brings a lot to this football team in a lot of different areas with just the way he approaches, his preparation, the way he plays the game, his physicality, his toughness, his mindset. It’s a big loss. They’re going to kick that thing off — I think we play at 8:30 Sunday night over in Pittsburgh, so they’re not going to cancel the game. Life goes on and it’s next man up.”
Dan Herron, claimed off waivers from Buffalo last week, is expected to share the workload of being Frank Gore’s backup with second-year pro Zurlon Tipton. The Colts waived an injured Herron after the final preseason game, then granted his request to be released from IR and he eventually signed with the Bills.
Tipton has bounced on an off the active roster and practice squad since signing as an undrafted free agent last season.
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