Jonathan Taylor

Colts’ Jonathan Taylor Underwent Ankle Surgery

Much of the attention surrounding the Colts at the moment relates to their ongoing head coaching search. Plenty of questions remain to be answered with respect to their roster, however, including their top offensive playmaker’s health heading into 2023.

[RELATED: Colts’ HC Search May Last Until After Super Bowl]

Running back Jonathan Taylor was limited to 11 games played in 2022, the first season of his career in which he missed time due to injury. He finished the campaign on IR with an ankle injury, and put up underwhelming numbers in a year where nothing went right for the Colts. There is positive news for him on the injury front, though.

The 24-year-old underwent ankle surgery in January, as detailed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The procedure – a arthroscopic debridement, specifically – was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson, and was described by Taylor as being “extremely successful” at cleaning out his ankle. The ailment had been affecting him since Week 4, but his outlook is looking better as a result of the surgery.

“That thing had a bunch of junk in there from a bunch of years,” the Wisconsin alum said of his ankle. “Just finally had to clean it out and make sure I’m good to go. We finally had the time to get it right, make sure I’m 100% ready to rock. That’s all you can ask.”

Taylor entered this past season with massive expectations, having led the league in rushing yards in 2021. In part due to the lingering ankle issues, along with the Colts’ overall struggles on offense, however, he was held to 861 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Those figures, along with his 4.5 yards per carry average, were career lows, and could put a damper on his potential value on a new deal.

Eligible for an extension this offseason, Taylor is likely to once again operate as the focal point of the Colts’ run game in 2023, but the team could be weary of committing to a big-money deal given his underwhelming campaign. His market value could also fluctuate significantly given the plethora of high-profile backs set to hit the open market (or sign long-term deals of their own with their respective teams). Regardless of what happens from a financial standpoint, Taylor added that he expects to be fully recovered in time for training camp, which will be a welcomed development in Indianapolis.

Colts Place RB Jonathan Taylor On IR

DECEMBER 20: As expected, Taylor has landed on IR. The Colts have last season’s rushing champion signed for one more season. Taylor will be eligible for an extension in January. Indianapolis is signing fifth-year running back Jordan Wilkins off its practice squad, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. It is a two-year deal for Wilkins, Wilson adds (on Twitter).

DECEMBER 19: The Colts were without their lead running back for nearly the entire game during their historic loss to the Vikings on Saturday, and they now face the prospect of finishing the season without him. Jonathan Taylor has a high ankle sprain, and is “highly unlikely” to play again in 2022, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Taylor has battled ankle issues throughout the campaign, his least productive in the NFL so far. He had missed three games prior to Saturday, and this latest injury comes with a recovery timeline which would likely make a return before the end of the regular season improbable. Given the Colts’ 4-9-1 record, the team would have little need to take anything but a cautious approach to Taylor’s health. A meeting with team doctors will take place later today.

The former second-rounder entered the season with sky-high expectations after he led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns in 2021. He, like the offense in general, has not met those expectations, though Taylor has still managed to record 1,004 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns in a lost season. His yards per carry average (4.5, down from 5.0 and 5.5 in his two previous campaigns), however, could be cause for concern moving forward.

With Taylor likely to be sidelined for the final three games of the year, Indianapolis will continue to rely on Zack Moss and Deon Jackson at the position down the stretch. Their 37 combined carries on Saturday point to an emphasis being placed in the run game to close out the season, as quarterback Matt Ryan has struggled with turnovers and interim head coach Jeff Saturday looks to make his case for an opportunity to become the full-time bench boss in 2023.

That will likely be the next time Taylor is available, barring a change of heart between himself or the medical staff in the near future. The 23-year-old could join star linebacker Shaquille Leonard on IR after the latter’s season-ending back surgery, a procedure which marked another disappointing turn in 2022 for the Colts.

Injury Updates: Taylor, Eagles, Morse, McCoy

Early in Saturday’s historic loss to the Vikings, the Colts saw star running back Jonathan Taylor leave the game without tallying a single carry. Tests showed that Taylor suffered a sprained ankle, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and while it was considered “nothing major,” it was enough to keep Taylor out for the remainder of the game.

In Taylor’s absence, in-season trade acquisition Zack Moss took over as the team’s lead back, assisted by Deon Jackson. Both put forth good performances for the rest of the contest, combining for 136 rushing yards on 37 carries.

With the Colts on the brink of elimination from postseason contention at 4-9-1, it’s not very surprising that Taylor didn’t risk his long-term health to return. Now the question arises of whether or not interim head coach Jeff Saturday and company will bring back Taylor at all for the rest of the season. If there’s no hope for a playoff run, will Indianapolis want to risk the long-term health of one of its keystone players or will it ride Moss and Jackson for the rest of the year?

Here are a few more injury updates from this weekend, starting with a player who didn’t even get to make an appearance:

  • Some were expecting to see Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert return from injury this week against the Bears, but ultimately, Philadelphia did not activate him. According to Schefter, Goedert is still expected to return from the injury soon, but “it’s not expected to be until next” week’s division game in Dallas. The Eagles will be excited to have their starting tight end back after relying on Jack Stoll and rookie sixth-round pick Grant Calcaterra for the past five games.
  • The Bills continued to take hits to their interior offensive line today after starting center Mitch Morse was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Backup guard Greg Van Roten, who was already filling in at right guard for an injured Ryan Bates, moved to center following Morse’s departure with backup offensive tackle David Quessenberry filling the empty slot at right guard. There is reason for concern due to Morse’s history with concussions. Back in 2020, it was reported he had suffered his fifth career concussion. It’s unclear if he’s suffered any since then, but the extensive history of brain trauma should not be taken lightly by the Bills training staff.
  • Another team that had to dig deep into the depth chart due to concussions, the Cardinals saw quarterback Colt McCoy leave today’s loss to the Broncos with a concussion. McCoy was slated to fill in for the remainder of the season after Kyler Murray‘s torn ACL, so with McCoy out, Arizona turned to third-string quarterback Trace McSorley. McSorley struggled in the loss, completing less than 50-percent of his passes and throwing two interceptions, but the Cardinals didn’t have another option. The team recently signed David Blough off of the Vikings practice squad but did not have him available for today’s game. Already eliminated from playoff contention at 4-10, there’s no reason for Arizona to rush anyone back from injury. If McCoy cannot be cleared by their Christmas night matchup with the Buccaneers, McSorley and Blough will be in line to lead the team from under center.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor Ruled Out, Expected To Avoid IR

For the third time this season, Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor will be held out of action for the weekend, according to Mike Chappell of Fox59. The absence of Taylor will pave the way for Deon Jackson to make his second start of the season.

After an awe-inducing sophomore season in which he led the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns, Taylor’s third year in the league has not gone according to plan. He started off hot with a 161-yard day in the team’s season-opening tie with the Texans but quickly cooled off as the offense dealt with growing pains and he dealt with an ankle injury.

Th ankle injury would force Taylor to miss two straight games in October. In his second game back from the injury absence, Taylor aggravated the right ankle during a loss to the Commanders. The injury that has already caused him to miss two games already could continue to hurt the Colts. Despite ruling Taylor out for this game, head coach Frank Reich has no plans to place him on injured reserve, according to Zak Keefer of The Athletic. The injury appears to be a week-to-week issue that the Colts want flexibility in dealing with for now.

With Taylor out, Jackson will get another chance to lead the Colts’ rushing attack. In two weeks without Taylor so far this year, Jackson has earned a combined 104 rushing yards and a touchdown, adding 14 catches for 108 yards through the air. The offense stands to look a bit different with Sam Ehlinger playing quarterback in place of Matt Ryan, but Jackson still figures to earn the lion’s share of the carries.

Although the Colts were able to acquire former Bills running back Zack Moss when trading away Nyheim Hines, Moss has only been with the team a couple of days and likely won’t have a very good grasp of the offense. Indianapolis is expected to elevate practice squad running back Phillip Lindsay for Sunday’s matchup in Foxborough, as they did the previous two games without Taylor. Lindsay contributed in his Colts debut with 11 carries for 40 yards but was relegated to a lesser role the following week, only carrying the ball three times for seven yards.

Giving Moss more time to practice and learn the offense may eventually dull the need for Lindsay, but for now, the Colts’ rushing offense will rely on the legs of Jackson and Lindsay as long as Taylor is out. As long as Taylor remains a week-to-week case, this will continue to be the gameplan.

Injury Notes: Allen, Colts, Dalton, Zappe

The Chargers have been without Keenan Allen since he suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s season opener. While he has yet to officially be ruled out for Monday night’s game against the Broncos, it appears his return will come no earlier than Week 7.

The 30-year-old said as much when speaking to NFL Network’s Bridget Condon. Allen was expected to be on the field by this point in the season after suffering the injury, but a setback pushed his recovery timeline into October. “I wouldn’t say it was going well,” Allen said of his first rehab attempt. “I think I pushed a little too fast. I wasn’t ready obviously and reaggravated it.”

Here are some other injury updates ahead of tomorrow’s action:

  • The Colts have had an extended rest period prior to Week 6 by virtue of playing on Thursday night last week. However, they will still be without running back Jonathan Taylor, as the team confirmed on Saturday. His absence against the Broncos placed a higher burden on backup Nyheim Hines, but he, in turn, left that contest with a concussion. Per the team’s injury report, Hines will also miss tomorrow’s game against the Jaguars as he recovers, leaving Indianapolis particularly thin at the position.
  • For the third consecutive week, the Saints will turn to quarterback Andy Dalton as their starter. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that the veteran will fill in for Jameis Winston, who is continuing to deal with back and ankle injuries. With him still sidelined, Dalton will face the Bengals, with whom he spent the first nine years of his career. While he will be eyeing his second New Orleans win against his old squad, he will be without his top receiving target; Michael Thomas has also been ruled out and will miss his third straight contest.
  • Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com adds that Winston will be active and in uniform (Twitter link). The Saints will only turn to him in the event of an injury to Dalton, but proceeding in this fashion means that the team does not have to promote a practice squad passer, which would then require a corresponding release. Indeed, the Saints waived QB Jake Luton on Saturday to help make room for their WR and DB needs (h/t Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.football on Twitter).
  • Sticking with the QB position, the Patriots are in store for a repeat of last week’s decisive win over the Lions. Rookie Bailey Zappe is expected to start once again, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. He was thrust into the No. 1 role after Mac Jones‘ ankle sprain and Brian Hoyer‘s concussion. Jones has officially been listed as questionable, but it is unlikely that he will be able to suit up, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The news is an encouraging step for the 2021 first-rounder regarding his recovery, though. Zappe and the Patriots will, on the other hand, be without receiver Nelson Agholor, who was ruled out on Saturday.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor To Miss Week 5

OCTOBER 5: Taylor’s ankle injury will cause him to miss his first NFL game due to injury. The Colts have ruled out their star running back for Week 5. The reigning rushing champion, who also went through his Wisconsin career without missing a game due to injury, was wearing a walking boot at Indianapolis’ Tuesday practice, Stephen Holder of ESPN.com notes. Prior to suffering the ankle malady, Taylor was dealing with a turf toe bout. Taylor’s only previous NFL absence came in 2020 due to landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

OCTOBER 3: The Colts fell to 1-2-1 on the season Sunday, and saw their most notable player on both sides of the ball suffer injuries. Running back Jonathan Taylor picked up an ankle injury during the game, leaving his Week 5 availability in question (video link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). 

[RELATED: Colts LB Leonard Suffers Concussion In Week 4 Return]

Rapoport notes that the injury isn’t expected to be particularly serious, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter adds the reigning rushing champion has a chance to play against the Broncos on Thursday (Twitter link). However, the fact that the Colts are on a short week could leave Taylor sidelined for that contest. He underwent testing immediately following Sunday’s game, the results of which will go a long way in determining if the Colts have their top offensive weapon available.

The 2021 Offensive Player of the Year was limited to just 42 yards on 20 carries yesterday, the latest in a string of underwhelming performances for he and the Colts. On the season, Taylor has amassed 328 rushing yards on an average of 4.0 yards per carry – a far cry from the 5.5 he posted last season en route to becoming the league’s top rusher – and a single touchdown.

Should the Wisconsin product miss Thursday’s game, Nyheim Hines would take on the starter’s role. He has received just eight carries so far, resulting in 11 yards. As usual, though, he has been more effective in the passing game, posting 17 catches for 113 yards. Former UDFA Deon Jackson — who has seen just two offensive snaps this season — is next on the depth chart, though ex-Bronco Phillip Lindsay is another option on the practice squad.

The Colts’ offense has struggled throughout the campaign, and the loss of Taylor would put even more pressure on the unit. Key defenders Shaquille Leonard and Tyquan Lewis have already been ruled out for Thursday’s game, as noted by Zak Keefer of The Athletic (Twitter link). Whether or not Taylor can suit up will be a situation worth watching over the coming days.

NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Darnold, Cowboys

Imagine a loaded Buccaneers offense with…Jonathan Taylor at running back. It could have been a possibility, as the Buccaneers had their eye on the Wisconsin product during the 2020 draft, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Bucs were armed with the No. 14 heading into that draft, and Taylor was on the “short list” of players the organization was considering with that selection. The team ended up with their preferred prospect, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, and they traded up to No. 13 to make sure they got the lineman. However, if Wirfs was off the board at that point in the draft, then Tampa Bay likely would have pivoted to Taylor, who didn’t hear his name come off the board until midway through the second round.

“I loved him,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said recently (via Schefter). “He could do it all, and it was just a matter of time — playing behind that offensive line — that he was going to be the force that he is.”

Taylor has obviously had a standout season with the Colts, leading the league with 1,348 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns (naturally, he’s also leading the NFL with 1,684 yards from scrimmage and 18 total scores). Of course, things have worked out fine for the Buccaneers. Wirfs has started all 28 of his career games, while the duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones were more than capable during Tampa Bay’s 2020 Super Bowl run.

Some more notes out of the NFC…

  • Sam Darnold seems to be out of the picture in Carolina, but the Panthers still owe the quarterback $18.8MM in guaranteed money in 2022. The team already paid Denver $7MM to inherit Teddy Bridgewater, leaving the organization with $17MM in dead cap. As a result, Joseph Person of The Athletic believes Darnold will stick around as a high-priced backup vs. being involved in a salary dump. Person specifically cites a 2017 trade where the Texans attached a second-round pick to Brock Osweiler to dump his salary on Cleveland; league sources tell the reporter that “an Osweiler-type trade involving Darnold is unlikely.”
  • Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards is a candidate for the head coaching job at his alma mater, Duke University, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Edwards was a four-year player for Duke, and he served as an assistant on the Duke staff way back in 1996. He’s had a long coaching career since that time, including a recent six-year stint as the Vikings defensive coordinator. Edwards has been a senior defensive assistant with the Cowboys since 2020. Duke parted ways with David Cutcliffe last month.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com recently tweeted the 10 highest salary cap hits for 2022, and the top three spots all belong to the NFC. Falcons QB Matt Ryan and his $48.7MM cap hit leads the way, following by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers at $46.1MM and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins at $45MM. Other NFC players on the list include Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (sixth, $37MM), Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (ninth, $34.5MM), and Lions QB Jared Goff (10th, $31.2MM).

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Tuitt, Colts

Multiple standout defensive linemen will be back in action in Week 13, and although the Ravens still have several players on their reserve/COVID-19 list, their roster is no longer as depleted as it was Wednesday.

  • Baltimore’s coronavirus list still houses 10 players, including Lamar Jackson, but the team will have multiple starters back at practice soon. The Ravens activated Calais Campbell, Mark Ingram and defensive lineman Jihad Ward from their virus list. Ingram was eligible to play against the Steelers on Wednesday, but the Ravens held him out. A five-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has not played since Nov. 8 due to a calf strain.
  • The 11-0 Steelers will have Stephon Tuitt back in action when they face Washington on Monday. They activated the seventh-year starter from their reserve/COVID list. Three Steelers remain on the virus list, including starters James Conner and Maurkice Pouncey.
  • Pricey trade acquisition DeForest Buckner came off the Colts‘ virus list as well. Buckner landed on Indianapolis’ COVID list after testing positive for the virus in late November. The Colts, who allowed the Titans to rush for 229 yards in Buckner’s absence last week, also removed Jonathan Taylor from their virus list.
  • The Ravens announced Saturday that four strains of the coronavirus were present in their building. While the team believes it contained three of those strains, the fourth ended up spreading to the point it forced the NFL to postpone the team’s Steelers rematch three times. Ten straight days commenced with at least one Raven testing positive for the virus, and the team had as many as 23 players on its reserve/COVID list at the height of the outbreak. Four straight days, however, have passed without a Ravens positive test.

Colts Place Jonathan Taylor On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Jonathan Taylor will not play for the Colts on Sunday. The AFC South leaders placed the rookie running back on their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.

Taylor is not believed to have submitted a positive coronavirus test, but his girlfriend tested positive after an out-of-town trip, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Taylor has been in quarantine since Friday. NFL protocols mandate players who come in contact with a COVID-positive person must isolate for five days. Were Taylor to test positive, he would be sidelined at least 10 days.

The Colts will face the Titans without their leading rusher or starting center, having declared Ryan Kelly out with a neck injury. Kelly, who has not missed a start since the 2018 season, did not practice this week.

As for Indianapolis’ backfield, it will rely on holdovers Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. The third-year backs have been effective at times this season, though none of Indianapolis’ backs is averaging more than four yards per carry. Hines scored twice against the Titans in the teams’ previous meeting. Taylor, however, leads the Colts with 135 carries for 518 yards and four TDs.

Colts Sign Three Draft Picks

The Colts have agreed to terms with three more draft picks, according to a team announcement. RB Jonathan Taylor (pick no. 41), QB Jacob Eason (no. 122), and LB Jordan Glasgow (no. 213) are all in the fold.

Indianapolis was left without a first-round pick due to the team’s trade for DeForest Buckner earlier this offseason. But the Colts had two second-round choices, and they used one of them on Taylor, a talented back out of Wisconsin (they actually traded up three spots to nab him). One of the concerns surrounding Taylor is his heavy usage in college, as he averaged 309 carries over his three seasons with the Badgers, but he certainly made the most out of those carries. He piled up 6,174 rushing yards on a healthy 6.7 yards-per-tote, and he became more of a factor in the passing game in 2019, contributing 26 catches for 252 yards and five receiving scores.

The Colts already had plenty of young talent in the backfield, with Taylor joining Marlon MackJordan Wilkins, and Nyheim Hines. Mack rushed for nearly 1,100 yards last season as the team’s RB1, but he is entering his contract year, and after seeing Indianapolis invest heavily in RBs in the draft over the past two seasons, he may be playing for a free agent deal elsewhere.

Eason, meanwhile, is an intriguing QB prospect who could be a starting option for the Colts as soon as 2021. Of course, Indy brought in Philip Rivers on a one-year pact for 2020, but current QB2 Jacoby Brissett is also on the last year of his current deal, so Eason will have the opportunity to learn from both players this season and perhaps take the reins next year. In 2019, the strong-armed Washington product completed 64.2% of his passes for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

Glasgow, the Colts’ final selection in the draft, will attempt to crack the team’s LB rotation and special teams unit. The DB-turned-linebacker compiled 89 tackles and five sacks in his final season at Michigan.