INDIANAPOLIS – Dwayne Allen spent months envisioning the day he could get back to work for the Colts on the practice field.
The starting tight end never really thought it would turn out quite this way.
When Allen was cleared to participate in Indianapolis’ offseason workouts this week, he was advised by team doctors to be cautious – something that really isn’t part of Allen’s DNA.
I feel good, Allen said Wednesday, the first day players were available to reporters. I was able to run around today and I’m really able to do whatever I want, so it’s up to me.
Allen, who went down with a season-ending hip injury in September, finds himself surrounded by teammates facing similar situations.
Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne says he’s feeling good about his recovery from a torn ACL in his right knee, though doctors have instructed him to wait until training camp to give it a full go. Running back Vick Ballard, who tore ACL in his right knee in September, and his replacement Ahmad Bradshaw, who had two vertebrae fused together in his neck last October, are being monitored closely, too.
Starting guard Donald Thomas, who had season-ending surgery for a torn quad in his right leg in September, is still trying to finish his nine-month recovery.
Even free-agent signee Hakeem Nicks said he’s feeling healthy.
And that has Andrew Luck thinking about what Indianapolis’ offense could look like – if everybody is healthy.
You’ve got to get that rhythm and timing down, said Luck, who found out Wednesday that the Colts will open this season at AFC champion Denver on Sept. 7 against former Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.
One thing I’ve learned is that timing is everything in this league and when you feel it, it makes things a little more simple.
For Luck, it’s not just about working with the receivers or getting some injured players back in the mix.
He’ll be working with a new center, too.
Indianapolis released two-year starter Samson Satele in a cost-cutting move and let backup Mike McGlynn leave in free agency.
Then they signed former Cowboys starter Phil Costa in free agency, only to lose Costa to a surprise retirement Monday.
Those moves give Khaled Holmes, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013, the inside track to the starting job and Luck one more wrinkle to work out before camp opens in late July.
You forget how many reps you end up taking with the center just in practice and everything, Luck said. We obviously don’t have that great of an amount of reps, so it will be very important during this workout OTA season to get all those reps with Khaled and whoever else is going to be snapping the ball.
The players returning from injuries have other tasks to accomplish this summer.
Nicks hopes to show that last year’s no-touchdown season was an aberration.
Bradshaw is trying to prove that with a healthy neck, he can return to his old, bulldozing style, too.
Wayne is out to prove those who think a 34-year-old receiver can’t return to his prior form after a serious knee injury are misguided.
Ballard said he’s eager to show he’s back, too, though he’s not trying to break any records.