The Colts have been hit by injures this year, but at least some key players could return ahead of their matchup with the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos on Sunday. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton returned to practice Friday, while outside linebacker Robert Mathis and cornerback Darius Butler continued working their way back as well, Mike Chappel with Fox59/CBS4 reports .
Assuming they’re able to play, Mathis and Butler would provide much needed reinforcements for a Colts defense that has been hit the hardest by injuries, particularly in the secondary. Both were listed as limited participants on Thursday, but appear to be getting closer to suiting up.
With starters Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson still rehabbing, Butler (ankle) would immediately be promoted to starter at cornerback, the area the team has struggled the most. Getting Mathis and his 118 career sacks back should help the defensive backs as well, although at 34 years old and coming off an Achilles injury, there’s no telling how effective the pass-rusher will be.
Hilton gave the Colts offense a brief scare when he missed practice Thursday and popped up on the injury report with a knee. Apparently it was nothing too major, because the Pro Bowl wideout is right back at it.
Of course, the Colts offense is never the concern as long as quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy. An Indianapolis defense that allowed the Lions to score 39 in a Week 1 loss was the bigger issue, so any relief Mathis and Butler might provide would be most welcome.