Player Notes and Quotes: June 12

Missed out on some of the latest news as the Colts wrapped up their minicamp and OTAs this week? Get the latest news and notes on Adam Vinatieri, Dwight Freeney, Anthony Gonzalez, Tony Ugoh, Ryan Lilja and more inside.

mdash; PK Adam Vinatieri underwent a surgical procedure to relieve a sore right hip. Colts coach Jim Caldwell fully expects Vinatieri to be ready for the team's Sept. 13 season opening game with the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"I fall back to Dr. Phillipon's direction. He said (Vinatieri) will be available for the season," Caldwell said. "That's what we anticipate. He did the surgery so we are following his lead in that regard."

He added, however, that rookie punters Pat McAfee and Tim Masthay both have experience as kickers and could fill in on a short-term basis. The team also signed Shane Andrus this week.

— WR Anthony Gonzalez suffered what appeared to be a strained right calf muscle during a recent team practice at Franklin (Ind.) College. The injury was not considered to be serious, although he was held out of organized team activity workouts for a few days. He is expected to be fine for the start of training camp on Aug. 2.


Freeney: A two-way threat?
AP Photo/Tom Strickland

— DE Dwight Freeney wants to be involved in a play or two on offense. When he was being recruited out of high school, one of the college coaches to talk to him was then-Wake Forest head coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell told him that he could play on both sides of the ball if he came to the ACC school.

"I'm going to talk to Peyton," Freeney said. "One red-zone play, that's all I need. Just one. I want to catch the ball."

Now that Caldwell is the head coach of the Colts, the Pro Bowl defensive lineman hasn't let him forget his promise. But team president Bill Polian, though, had a quick retort to the request.

"I've got two words for that: Lis Franc," he said.

Freeney suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot at San Diego in 2007 that forced him to miss the last part of the regular season and the playoffs.

— OG Ryan Lilja admitted recently that it was tough to stand on the sidelines and watch practices and games last season. He lamented not having an opportunity to play in Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It's not fun to sit out and watch your teammates out there practicing or playing games," he said. "I haven't played in the new stadium. I haven't earned a paycheck in a while. That's my goal. I've been getting better for the last three months and that's all I can ask for. I don't see any reason why I'm going to stop getting better in the next six weeks. Every time we test it, it responds really well. I'm not where I need to be, but hopefully I will be in six weeks.

"This is the first year I've ever been excited about training camp. To be honest with you, I'm excited to have a job. I feel like a rookie again. (Center Jeff) Saturday and (tackle Ryan) Diem probably think I'm crazy, but I can't wait to get in those dorms and wake up early and start practicing."

Lilja acknowledged that he underwent a third medical procedure on his knee in December. Lilja, who had undergone two earlier surgeries last summer and fall, has been able to put multiple days of practice during OTAs and minicamp together without feeling any pain.

— WR Sam Giguere is recovering from a fractured fibula that he suffered in an OTA practice last month. He is also expected back during training camp.

OG Steve Justice had a medical procedure performed on his back but should be back for training camp. No exact time given for his return. Justice had been bothered by a sore back since the early portion of OTA workouts in May.

— OT Tony Ugoh might hold the key to unlocking the Colts' running game, which was all too often doormant in 2008, according to owner Jim Irsay. "We gave up a lot for him to play left tackle," he said. "He's got to be focused. He's got to be ready to go."

Ugoh said that he had his right knee scoped after the 2008 season. Ugoh said that his knee bothered him for most of last season, adding that he couldn't fully straighten his leg at times. He noted that the injury often limited his lateral movement.


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