Indianapolis Colts young running back Vick Ballard tore his ACL very early in the 2013 regular season, and it will be interesting to see how he looks in August in training camp and preseason games. Ballard will definitely be ready for the start of the season, but we’ll see if it takes him any time to adjust following major knee surgery.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Mike Wells, Ballard is “close to” 100%, and he should be fully recovered soon. He doesn’t have nearly as many health-related questions as injury-prone veteran Ahmad Bradshaw does, but he also isn’t nearly as talent as the former New York Giants feature back. Bradshaw could start camp as the starter, though I’m sure the Colts want nothing more than seeing Trent Richardson bounce back, fulfill his potential, make good on the first-round pick trade with the Cleveland Browns, and become the feature back for this team. For as good as Bradshaw is all-around, he’s simply too much of an injury risk to trust with a heavy workload on the ground.
Ballard ran for 814 yards as a rookie, but he also averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in his first season out of Mississippi State. Just 23, the ACL tear shouldn’t hold him back much in 2014, though it might cause him to have some rust early on. Ballard is a bit of a wildcard, and, as Wells notes, he is in the same position as the other Colts RBs; he has to prove himself this offseason (each RB is, of course, in a different situation when it comes to what they need to prove).