Colts’ Sanders out again after arm surgery
INDIANAPOLIS – Last week, Colts safety Bob Sanders said he was as healthy as he’s ever been.
Now, he’s going to be out of action indefinitely.
The 2007 NFL defensive player of the year had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn biceps muscle in his right arm, an injury that could end his season again. Team officials are not yet saying how much time Sanders could miss.
“I don’t know, and I don’t want to say anything until I have all the information,” coach Jim Caldwell said before the Colts’ practiced Wednesday.
A couple of hours later, the Colts (0-1) announced the surgery.
Sanders was hurt Sunday when he landed awkwardly on his shoulder during Houston’s first offensive series.
He did light work during a non-contact practice Monday before having an MRI, then met with Dr. James Andrews in Alabama to get a second opinion Wednesday morning. Apparently, Andrews determined the two-time Pro Bowler needed surgery.
For Sanders, it’s the latest addition to his long list of injuries.
Just 10 months ago, Sanders went on season-ending injured reserve with a torn biceps in the left arm. And since winning the league’s top defensive honor and signing a $37.5 million contract after the 2007 season, Sanders has played in just nine games. He’s actually missed more games (49) than he’s played in (48) during his seven-year career.
Teammates are preparing for the worst.
“He’s a family member and we’d love to have him out there,” Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney said. “But life goes on, the game goes on. Unfortunately, we’ve played a lot of games without him, and I feel bad for him personally.”
If there is any good news for Sanders, it’s this: Indy is keeping him on the 53-man active roster, for now.
The team’s release said it would “monitor” Sanders’ rehabilitation before making any additional decision.
“There’s definitely several different routes that he can go,” team owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday. “But it’s way too early to say that he’s definitely done for the season.”
Melvin Bullitt, Sanders’ replacement the last two seasons, is expected to rejoin the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Giants. Bullitt has started 21 regular-season games and four postseason games over the past two seasons while Sanders was out.
Bullitt again returned to the lineup when Sanders left the Houston game, and Bullitt picked off a pass to set up the Colts’ first touchdown.
“His situation is definitely unfortunate,” Bullitt said Wednesday. “I’ve talked to him a little bit, and he’s doing fine.”
Bullitt’s return to the starting lineup, Caldwell said, also means he’ll see a reduction in special teams’ duty.
So the Colts adjusted the roster. On Wednesday morning, Indy announced it had signed safety DaJuan Morgan and waived offensive lineman Joe Reitz, an Indiana native who was claimed off waivers from Miami last week.
Morgan was Kansas City’s third-round pick in 2008. He played in 28 games, made 34 tackles and had one fumble recovery. He was waived by the Chiefs on Sept. 4.
The Colts have also announced that Anthony Gonzalez will miss Sunday’s game against the Giants with a high-ankle sprain. Caldwell has not said which ankle Gonzalez hurt.
Linebacker Clint Session (hamstring) and Freeney, who was given an extra day of rest, were the only other players to sit out Wednesday’s practice. Left tackle Charlie Johnson did limited work as he recovers from a sprained right foot. Linebacker Cody Glenn (hamstring), defensive back Jacob Lacey (concussion) and center Jeff Saturday (right knee) were full practice participants.
But with Sanders’ short-term and long-term future uncertain in Indy, the Colts can’t afford to wait for answers.
“His presence will be missed,” cornerback Kelvin Hayden said. “But like we say around here, it’s next man up and we move forward.”