INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich first learned about Eric Ebron’s problematic ankle before last week’s game.
On Monday, the injury ended Ebron’s season.
The Pro Bowl tight end was placed on the injured reserve list, dealing a Colts already struggling offense yet another jarring blow.
“He came in last week — it flared up on him,” Reich said. “Prior to that, really there were no problems with it as far as practice or playing. Then when it flared up on him last week, it became a little bit of an issue so we ended up having to make the move we did today.”
The timing couldn’t be worse for the Colts (6-5).
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett already is playing with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, starting running back Marlon Mack already has been ruled out of this week’s game with a fractured right hand, four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton returned from an injured calf in Thursday night’s loss albeit on a limited basis and No. 2 receiver Devin Funchess continues trying to work his way back from a broken collarbone that was suffered in the season opener.
The Colts have lost three of four to fall out of the AFC South lead and into a tie for second place with surging Tennessee (6-5), which comes to town Sunday. And they play three of their last four on the road.
But the bigger mystery appears to be the injury itself.
Reich said he was aware Ebron had a scan on his ankle before training camp but was only told it was bothering Ebron last week. Ebron, meanwhile, used his Twitter account to detail his own account.
“Unfortunately, I have been dealing with an ankle injury since the beginning of the season,” Ebron wrote. “Up to this point, the team and I have done everything in our power to manage the pain and get me out there each and every week. My goal was to push off surgery until the offseason, but at this point the pain has become unbearable and I can no longer give my team or the fans a worthwhile version of myself.”
Ebron’s role in the offense also had declined in the wake of Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement and the return of Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle this season. Through 11 games, he had 31 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns compared with 66 receptions for 750 yards and 13 TDs in 16 games last season.
He can now become a free agent in March.
“Obviously, Eric has been a good playmaker for us. He had a big year last year. He is always a threat,” Reich said. “He’s a very talented tight end with a lot of speed, so we’ll miss that.”
Reich remains hopeful newly signed Ross Travis can help out right away since he’s already familiar with the system and at least some of his new teammates.
Travis played four games with the Colts in 2017 before spending all of last season on injured reserve. He was back at training camp for the Colts in July before being waived Aug. 31.
Indy also waived cornerback Shakial Taylor and signed cornerback Picasso Nelson Jr. to the practice squad.