NOVEMBER 29: The Colts are not looking to save a roster spot here. They will go week to week with Taylor, per Shane Steichen, who said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson) the team is not considering an IR stint. Steichen pointed to Irsay’s timeline of a Week 15 or Week 16 Taylor return being a realistic target.
NOVEMBER 28, 3:01pm: Taylor will indeed miss time. The standout back is set to undergo thumb surgery, according to Jim Irsay (via The Athletic’s James Boyd). This is not a season-ending procedure, but Boyd notes a multiweek absence is expected. The Colts hope Taylor will be able to return in two or three weeks, though Rapoport adds an IR move — one that would sideline Taylor for four games — may be under consideration before this week’s game.
1:13pm: Just as he has reestablished himself as a full-time player, Jonathan Taylor may need some additional time off. The Colts running back — who has overtaken Zack Moss after his re-acclimation period upon returning from the reserve/PUP list — is uncertain for Week 13 due to a thumb injury, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.
Taylor sustained the injury during his 91-yard, two-touchdown game against the Buccaneers, a Colts win that helped the team to 6-5 and into the No. 7 spot in the AFC’s playoff race. All options are on the table here, per Rapoport, though ESPN.com’s Stephen Holder notes the team remains in evaluation mode. No IR decision has been made.
Coming into last season, Taylor had not missed any time due to injury during his NFL or college careers. He attempted to play through an ankle issue last season but missed six games and eventually required surgery. That problem may or may not have dragged into the summer, with Taylor’s contractual impasse and subsequent trade request having plenty to do with his absence from training camp as well. But Taylor still missed the season’s first four games. After signing a three-year, $42MM extension, the fourth-year running back was in uniform for Week 5.
The Colts had steadily increased their standout starter’s workload in the weeks since his return. His snap share went from 15% to 42% to 50% to 61% to 74% to 88% from Weeks 5-10. In Week 12, Taylor played 58% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps; he was, however, on the field to convert a game-clinching first down in the final minutes. The Wisconsin alum has two 90-yard rushing games over his past four.
Having made an unexpected voyage into surefire playoff contention, the Colts have a clear Taylor backup plan. Moss remains 10th in the NFL with 672 rushing yards. While not as talented as Indy’s starter, Moss holds a 4.8-yard average per carry (compared to Taylor’s 4.1 number) and has played well in a contract year. If Taylor needs to miss time, the 2022 trade acquisition will likely step in as a full-time player once again. After sustaining a broken hand during camp and missing Week 1, Moss retook the reins and kept them until the Colts deemed Taylor ready to go. He played at least 76% of Indy’s offensive snaps in four games this season.