Colts' Cherilus ends season on injured reserve
Jan. 01, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gosder Cherilus took a few snaps at practice Wednesday, and then learned his season was over.
Just hours after finishing practice, the Colts announced they had placed starting right tackle on injured reserve. The move leaves a huge hole on an offensive line that has used 10 different starting lineups this season and may have to use another one for Sunday's playoff game against Cincinnati.
"We make no excuses," coach Chuck Pagano said. "You'd like to go 16 weeks and have the same five guys start week in and week out, but that hasn't been the case since we got here. We've dealt with it every single year. So it is what it is, and we're fortunate that we've got a bunch of guys that have position flexibility, can play a lot of spots."
Cherilus had been one of Indianapolis' few constants, a consistent run blocker and pass protector. But his streak of 56 consecutive starts ended earlier this year, and a series of injuries took a toll on Cherilus as the season wore on. The latest problem, an injured groin, apparently was too much to overcome.
Indy (11-5), the AFC South champion, has played the past two games without Cherilus with mixed results.
When Xavier Nixon replaced Cherilus at Dallas, the Colts were blown out 42-7. Last week, at Tennessee, Pagano moved left guard Jack Mewhort to right tackle and inserted backup center A.Q. Shipley at left guard. Indy beat the Titans 27-10.
But the timing couldn't be worse.
Shipley is trying to recover from an injured ankle, and starting right guard Hugh Thornton took 18 snaps against the Titans before he was carted off the field with a shoulder injury. Neither practiced Wednesday.
Pagano hasn't said anything about his plans for the line this weekend.
If Mewhort replaces Cherilus, versatile backup Joe Reitz could get the nod at left or right guard. He was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and has made two starts at right guard this season. Indy also could plug in veteran Lance Louis, who started six times at right guard in 2014.
To create additional depth, the Colts promoted offensive lineman David Arkin from the practice squad to the active roster. They also added signed receiver Kadron Boone to the practice squad.
But Pagano is convinced that whoever starts Sunday will get the job done.
"We've got smart guys, we've got tough guys that can fill in and play winning football," he said.