Injuries Hit Defense Hard

The good news is that the Colts are the AFC's only undefeated team after eight weeks. The bad news, however, is that a rash of injuries has hit the defense and the news doesn't seem to be getting any better ...

A secondary that has been without starters Bob Sanders, Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson will likely have to go without the services of those three players for most of the rest of the season.

Jackson, who suffered an ACL injury during a noncontact drill in practice that ended his season in 2008, suffered a similar injury this week and was placed on the Injured Reserved list on Friday.

"He's a warrior," Jim Caldwell said of Jackson earlier today. "He is an extremely dedicated guy. He loves the game of football. He gives it everything that he's got. Whatever you ask him, he does. For him to work that hard and have a setback is really tough. We all feel for him."

Also today comes news that Bob Sanders, the NFL's 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, will miss the rest of the season with a biceps injury, according to ESPN's Adam Shefter, who cited an unnamed team source.

Caldwell didn't confirm Friday that Sanders was lost for the year, but did indicate he would have a procedure.

"There will be a determination made on him pretty quickly," Caldwell said. "That will be within the next 24 hours. It'll be pretty fast. He's going to have to have something done."

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that starting linebacker Tyjuan Hagler would miss the rest of the season, also with a biceps injury. Caldwell indicated Philip Wheeler, who lost his starting job to Hagler in camp, is the likely replacement at the position.

"Looks like Philip (Wheeler) will be the guy," Caldwell said. "He will start at that position at this point. Don't etch that in stone, but that is the way it is today."

Caldwell also indicated that Freddy Keiaho, who played all three linebacker positions when injuries mounted in 2008, is a candidate to fill in for Hagler as well.

According to Schefter, Calwell also said that Hayden will miss another month as he recovers from a knee injury.

While this seemingly unending string of injury news seems to put a damper on the team's 709 start, Caldwell was quick to note that injuries are a part of life in the NFL.

"That's kind of the way it is in this league," he said. "Situations occur and sometimes you have to be called upon to do just a little bit more than you ordinarily do for a game. This one will be no different. I think we are well equipped to handle it."

The situation seems most dire at cornerback, where Jackson and Hayden are both two-year starters, and Hayden just signed a lucrative free-agent deal in the offseason. But both have already missed significant time this season, and play of the pass defense hasn't really suffered, with rookies Jacob Lacey, Jerraud Powers and backup Tim Jennings all playing well.

"Jerraud (Powers) acts as if he's been here on this earth before," Caldwell said. " He is just wise beyond his years in terms of the way in which he acts and functions. (Jacob) Lacey still has a bit of playfulness in him, yet, he is still determined. Like most good defensive backs, I think you have to be a little bit of a riverboat gambler with a short memory. I think he does possess that.

"Don't forget about TJ (Rushing)," Caldwell added. "He gives us our fourth guy and that's what we typically go into a ball game with. That's our rotation. That gives us what we need in that regard. He's a guy who understands our system. He's been around and can play. We feel good about that."

In other news Friday, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee injury, suffered in the season opener, and the team re-signed defensive end Josh Thomas in the roster spot opened by the move of Jackson to injured reserve, according to's Adam Caplan.

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