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The Lede: Colts O-Line Dealt Major Blow

During the preseason many teams will spend a week or two engaged in joint practices. Being able to practice against a different team provides new looks and the opportunity for many to let loose, knowing they aren’t going head-to-head with their own teammate. But the increased intensity also results in more injuries. The Colts experienced this in their joint practice with the Lions last week, as center Ryan Kelly injured his foot.

Kelly spent the last week in a walking boot with hopes the foot would heal on its own, but that hasn’t been the case. It was announced today the second-year pro will require surgery to repair the foot, forcing him to miss 6-8 weeks. The timetable sets him up to return Week 4 at the absolute earliest, but he may not be back until Week 7. According to PFF, Kelly graded out as the 22nd-best center last year as a rookie and was the Colts’ third-best offensive lineman. With Kelly in the lineup, Indianapolis’ line ranked 22nd heading into the 2017 season. That doesn’t sound great. But it can get worse and, with undrafted rookie Deyshawn Bond at center, it will. Takeaway: There is already skepticism over whether Andrew Luck will be ready for Week 1. Now without Kelly at center, the Colts will want to be extra cautious with their franchise QB in their season-opener against Aaron Donald and the Rams. Unfortunately, most sportsbooks have closed wagers on the game, due to the uncertainty of Luck’s status. But if Luck does play, the line will likely stay at -3 for the Colts. Getting three points with the Rams in LA is a great play; Donald is going to feast on that horrendous line, assuming his holdout doesn’t last into the regular season. Expect the Colts to dive into the free-agent market to fill the void at center. Jeremy Zuttah is likely the best available; the fact the 49ers were willing to cut him should say enough about his potential. Following Week 1, Indianapolis hosts the Arizona and Cleveland, before heading to Seattle in Week 4. It’s likely Kelly misses all of those games and, if Luck does too, the Colts will be fortunate to emerge with a single win. Hopefully you haven’t placed any wagers on the Colts making the playoffs, because it’s not happening.

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