The Indianapolis Colts have gone through a whirlwind of an offseason. After watching both quarterback Carson Wentz and right guard Quenton Nelson go under the knife for foot surgery earlier this month, the Colts didn’t expect either player to be ready to go by Week 1. But both starters have already returned to practice and are expected to play two Sundays from now against the Seattle Seahawks.
Just as Indianapolis received a double dose of good news, though, the team suffered another setback to its offense. T.Y. Hilton, the Colts’ No. 1 wide receiver, is now expected to miss multiple weeks after suffering an injury in practice last week.
With a banged-up offense and a brutal schedule to begin the year, Wentz and company could be in for a rough start to the 2021 season.
T.Y. Hilton out “multiple weeks” with a neck injury
Everything was finally starting to come together for the Colts after a worrisome month. Wentz and Nelson returned to the practice field earlier than expected after both underwent similar foot surgeries, and they seemed to be back on track to start in Week 1.
But just as the offense was returning to full health, it lost a much-needed outside weapon just two weeks before the start of the 2021 season.
On Sunday morning, Stephen Holder of The Athletic reported in a tweet that Hilton suffered an “unspecified injury” and is now expected to be out for “multiple weeks.” Holder added the injury isn’t expected to be season-ending. Adam Schefter of ESPN later tweeted that Hilton is being evaluated for an upper back/neck injury and his timeline for return is unknown.
Wentz will most likely be without his new No. 1 target to start the season, which doesn’t bode well for a Colts team facing a gauntlet of a schedule in the first few weeks.
Carson Wentz and the Colts could be in for a disastrous start to the season
No NFL team wants to start the season with multiple players at less than 100%, but that seems to be the way it’s trending for the Colts in 2021. To make matters worse, the first few weeks set up to be the most difficult stretch of Indy’s schedule this season.
The Colts start off their 2021 campaign at home against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. They remain in Indianapolis to host Matthew Stafford and the new-look Los Angeles Rams in Week 2. After that, they go on the road to face the Tennessee Titans, the Miami Dolphins, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Indy gets a break in the schedule with the Houston Texans in Week 6, but the team heads across the country to face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 and returns home to face the Titans again in Week 8. Oh, and the Colts don’t have their bye week until Week 14.
The Colts could be out of playoff contention by Week 8
In a nightmare scenario, the banged-up Colts could realistically start the season 1-7 or 2-6. They’ll need Wentz to be his 2017 self if they want to keep up with the high-powered offenses they face in the first few weeks of the season.
Hilton has dealt with his fair share of injuries in the past, and there’s no guarantee he’ll even be able to stay on the field when he does return from his latest setback. The same can be said for Wentz, who’s missed time in three of his first five seasons in the NFL.
Even if the Colts’ offense was 100% to start the season, Indianapolis would have a tough time surviving its brutal schedule in the first few weeks. But with already multiple question marks and more popping up by the day, it’s possible we could see a disastrous start from the Colts that puts them out of playoff contention halfway through the season.