A Few Absences As Colts Start Mini-Camp

Wide receiver Donte Moncrief's left foot is out of a protective boot, but he's among several players watching first of three workouts.

The first of three Indianapolis Colts mini-camp practices provided some promising news on the injury front Tuesday afternoon.

No. 2 wide receiver Donte Moncrief had the boot off his left foot, which underwent surgery to repair a turf toe injury he aggravated in the 2015 season finale. Although Moncrief didn’t do much in practice, not having the boot is an encouraging sign for an important player expected to be good to go when players report to Anderson University for training camp on July 26.

The biggest question marks are still defensive tackle Arthur Jones (ankle), offensive guard Hugh Thornton (ankle) and cornerback D'Joun Smith (knee).

Jones has assured, “I’ll be ready,” when the Colts report to camp. But as is the case with any oft-injured player, seeing is believing. He’s started just three of nine games played in two seasons with the Colts and accepted a $2 million reduction in his base salary for 2016, although he can earn that money back by meeting playing incentives.

Thornton has slimmed down to 315 pounds — the former third-round pick has been listed at 336 and 324 pounds in the past. But he isn’t practicing due to an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve at the end of last season, and Thornton is entering a contract year. 

It’s fair to say the Colts have other options if Thornton can’t get healthy. The Colts are taking a look at center Jonotthan Harrison, rookie Joe Haeg and second-year tackle Denzelle Good at the position.

Smith, a third-round pick last year, has yet to prove he can stay healthy and factor into the Colts’  plans. He played just four games as a reserve with one tackle as a rookie before ending up on injured reserve with a knee injury. And he’s still on the mend.

His draft selection was with an eye toward the future considering since-departed Greg Toler was in a contract year. Although the Colts signed cornerback Patrick Robinson in free agency and have nickel back Darius Butler in addition to Pro Bowl cover guy Vontae Davis, the team would like to see a healthy Smith pushing for playing time.

One day after revealing he underwent offseason surgery to clean up loose bodies in his non-kicking left knee, punter Pat McAfee was booming punts and showed he’s almost healed. He estimated himself at “85 to 90 percent” in a Monday radio interview, the first time the public was informed he had undergone a procedure.

No Moncrief meant more of free-agent addition Brian Tyms, a fourth-year pro who has similar height at 6-3 but is 17 pounds lighter than Moncrief at 204 pounds. Tyms impressed with a series of catches.

Wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett looked fast, as usual, with quarterback Andrew Luck zipping passes in their direction. Luck continues to show he’s regained his health after missing nine games last year due to several injuries, including a lacerated kidney.

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