DENVER – The Colts are not going to push it with Jonathan Taylor on a short week.
Indianapolis has ruled out the reigning NFL rushing champion a day ahead of a Thursday night road game against the Broncos. The Colts will instead roll with Nyheim Hines and potentially a mix of Deon Jackson and Phillip Lindsay against Denver.
Taylor has been nursing an ankle injury since Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Titans when he got his right foot twisted in a pile late in the game. He spent the following days in treatment and with a walking boot on the right foot, but it didn't heal enough to push it on such a short week.
This will be the first game Taylor has missed due to injury in his three NFL seasons. He missed one game in 2020 as a COVID-19 close contact.
“I definitely do plan to play, but if you can’t go, you can’t go,” Taylor said this week. “That’s why you’ve got to get as much treatment as you can.”
Taylor is not enjoying anywhere near the season he had either of the past two years. As a second-round rookie in 2020, he ran for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last season, he led the NFL with 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns.
This season, he has 328 yards in four games, weighted heavily on a 161-yard performance in Week 1 against the Texans. He's been held under 75 yards in each of the past three games, and he's scored just one touchdown so far.
The Colts have not given him much of a chance to run the ball. They rank 31st in adjusted line yards opened up for the running backs, according to Football Outsiders, and they've had more runs stuffed than all but two teams.
Indianapolis will try to present a better blocking scheme for whoever takes the bulk of carries Thursday night. It could be a busy night for Lindsay, who had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to start his career with the Broncos and who could be elevated from the practice squad in Taylor's absence. Colts running backs not named Taylor have rushed 10 times this season for only eight yards.
Contact Colts insider Nate Atkins at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NateAtkins_.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor won't play vs. Broncos due to anke injury