INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A road test that already was daunting has become even more difficult.
The Indianapolis Colts will be without T.Y. Hilton when they meet the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday in Heinz Field. The perennial Pro Bowl wideout has been ruled out after suffering a calf injury in Wednesday’s practice.
Frank Reich said the injury could keep Hilton out “three or four weeks,’’ although that’s not definite. It was a non-contact injury and surgery is not anticipated.
“We know T.Y,’’ Reich said. “He’ll heal as fast as he can heal.’’
The magnitude of Hilton’s absence can’t be overstated.
He’s the Colts’ leading receiver this season with 32 receptions, 360 yards and five touchdowns, and has been since 2013.
And then there’s this: the Colts are 0-5 without him. The offense has averaged a modest 22 points per game when he’s dealt with an injury.
It marks the second time this season the offense must adjust to being without its catalyst. He missed the week 4 game against Oakland with a quadriceps injury and the Colts were whipped 31-24.
Jacoby Brissett passed for 265 yards and three touchdowns, but the Colts trailed 24-10 after three quarters and 48 of his passing yards came on a late touchdown pass to Eric Ebron.
In terms of picking up the slack for Hilton, wideouts combined for12 catches, 147 yards and one TD. Rookie Parris Campbell had five catches for 25 yards, Zach Pascal four for 72 and Chester Rogers three for 48 and one TD.
The Colts already are without Devin Funchess, one of Chris Ballard’s significant free-agent signings who remains on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury. He’s eligible to return to practice – that has yet to happen – and can return for the Nov. 17 game with Jacksonville.
Hilton’s absence undoubtedly means Deon Cain will be given another opportunity to contribute. He was inactive for last Sunday’s game with Denver and has managed just four catches for 52 yards.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51