Indianapolis Colts fans may have been caught a little bit by surprise Tuesday when it was revealed that star linebacker Darius Leonard was undergoing a procedure to correct an injury in his back.
We knew that Leonard had been missing time due to a lingering ankle injury that stemmed from the 2021 regular season. However, the back injury was new to those outside the building.
Here’s everything we know about Leonard’s injury, surgery and recovery time:
Injury came up recently
Colts head coach Frank Reich provided some details on the situation.
“We’ve continued to monitor his ankle. He is not going to need a second procedure, but he’s not here because what has happened is he had a back issue that has kind of been a progressive thing that started early in the offseason and was fine, but it’s just been something that’s progressed. We just recently made the evaluation that – consulting with Darius, doctors and trainers – he’s going to have a procedure done on his back. ”
Expected to miss training camp time
While the Colts have an optimistic prognosis on the recovery timeline, Reich did say they expect Leonard to miss some time during training camp.
A new injury
Reich was asked if this back issue was something that Leonard dealt with in the past as he has been with the ankle injury. He told the media that it was a more recent injury and one that crept up on them over the last few weeks.
“No, to the best of my understanding in the offseason early on it was, ‘Hey, something isn’t feeling right.’ Let’s keep an eye on it and don’t overreact. It just kind of got worse rather than better, but because he wasn’t practicing you don’t even know that because he’s not practicing because of the ankle. But we eventually – doctors and trainers did a good job of figuring it out. ”
Not related to the ankle
Leonard has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury ever since he got surgery on it last offseason. It didn’t stop him from another stellar season, but Reich said the back issue is not related to the ankle.
May not need preseason reps
Despite being in a new defensive scheme under Gus Bradley, Leonard may not need a ton of extensive work during the preseason. That would be welcomed, of course, but Reich said they may feel comfortable if this recovery timeline lasts through the preseason.
“Not sure yet. I’m not sure yet. Really, with Darius (Leonard) at this point, and again, I don’t know the exact timetable on the return. My mind is saying, as long as he’s ready for the regular season. You know what I mean? Does he need to play in the preseason? Sure, it would be nice to play a little bit but if that doesn’t happen, not worried about it. ”
Who steps in?
With Leonard out the rest of the offseason and potentially a good chunk of training camp, the Colts will get to see EJ Speed working in a bigger role at the WILL spot.
“Yeah, it’s been great for EJ (Speed). He’s gotten a ton of work and he’s done very well. ”
The Maniac is in good spirits