Colts center Danny Pinter suffered a broken left ankle during the team’s preseason win over the Eagles on Thursday, as Mike Chappell of Fox 59 writes. Pinter has been placed on injured reserve, and his season is over.
Pinter, a 2020 fifth-round choice, has appeared in 46 games (seven starts) in his first three professional seasons. He opened the 2022 campaign as Indianapolis’ starting right guard but was benched for poor performance after just three games. He handled the bulk of the snaps at center in relief of an injured Ryan Kelly in the Colts’ Week 5 win over the Broncos, was relegated to reserve duty when Kelly returned the following week, and scarcely saw any action the rest of the way.
This season, Pinter was penciled in as Kelly’s primary backup at the pivot. Pinter started three games at the position in 2021 and received a strong 78.4 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus for his work, though his subpar 46.0 pass-blocking mark left much to be desired. The Colts did, however, win all three of those contests, and the club values Pinter’s ability to line up at multiple positions along the O-line.
“Danny is a really good player for us,” head coach Shane Steichen said. “To lose a guy like him is very unfortunate for us.”
2022 UDFA Wesley French and 2023 waiver claim Dakoda Shepley are the top internal options to fill the backup center role. However, French has yet to take a regular season snap in the NFL, and Shepley’s only non-special teams action came with the Cowboys last year, when he took eight snaps at center and six at right guard.
Steichen did not commit to either player at this point, saying, “[we’re] working through all of that right now. There are a couple of guys we’re looking at.”
It is possible that the Colts look for external reinforcements with cutdown day looming, especially since they will be starting rookie Anthony Richardson at quarterback.