The Colts will move cautiously with Austin Collie as the veteran wide receiver recovers from his third concussion in less than two years.
Coach Chuck Pagano revealed Collie’s diagnosis in a conference call today. Collie was injured in the first quarter of a 26-24 preseason loss in Pittsburgh Sunday night.
“Player safety is first and foremost so we’re always going to err on the side of caution,” Pagano said. “I’m more interested in the health of these guys than just throwing them back out there. Obviously he came in and felt really good today which was positive for us. We’ll just take it day by day with him and we’ll be smart.”
The rest of the injury news was relatively positive. Defensive end Cory Redding has what Pagano called a “mild” sprain of a knee ligament and outside linebacker Robert Mathis, who left in the first quarter with a sprained shoulder, is not expected to miss any time.
Pagano said Collie would be re-evaluated regularly by the team’s medical staff.
“He’ll go through a battery of tests throughout the week,” he said. “It’ll be day to day and we’ll see how they progress.
Collie left after taking a forearm to the helmet from Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote, who arrived on the scene as the Colts’ receiver already was on his way to the turf in the arms of defensive back Ike Taylor.
No penalty was called on the play, and Pagano was non-committal when asked if he thought the hit deserved a fine or possible suspension.
“That’ll be up to the league to decide,” he said. “When they review the tape, those things happen so fast, they’re bang-bang plays, a lot of them so it’s solely up to the league to decide.”
Collie missed seven games in the 2010 season after sustaining two concussions in six weeks. He returned to play 16 games last season, starting five, and had 54 receptions.
Given the intense scrutiny the league has been under regarding the potential long-term effects of head injuries, Collie’s status will be of particular interest — even though he personally has consistently expressed little concern about his future health. In fact, his standard comment is that he only thinks about it when the media brings up the subject.
Redding, who missed the preseason opener against St. Louis with an elbow injury, limped out of the Pittsburgh game after four plays.
“It could be a week or so,” Pagano said. “He’s in there treating the thing right now so he’s got a mild MCL and we’ll see how that thing progresses.”
The Colts lost starting inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot fracture) and right guard Mike McGlynn (high ankle sprain) against the Rams and likely will be without Collie and Redding Saturday when they face the Redskins in Washington.
But the news could’ve been a lot worse.
“You say your prayers and keep your fingers crossed,” Pagano said. “It’s always hard to see guys like that, or anybody for that matter, go down early and obviously we feel fortunate things came out the way they did.”