The Indianapolis Colts have received plenty of good news on the injury front today as training camp opens up, as running back Vick Ballard stated that he has been cleared after tearing his ACL in early September in 2013, and he should be 100%. Now, Colts official site beat writer Kevin Bowen reports that franchise icon Reggie Wayne stated that he has also been cleared for the start of training camp after tearing his ACL in a Week 7 win over the Denver Broncos.
Wayne was always expected to be cleared in time for training camp, so this is just positive confirmation that he’s on the right track. The 35-year-old will likely lose some more explosiveness as a result of the severe knee injury, but I still expect him to be a solid player going forward. Armed with T.Y. Hilton, TE Dwayne Allen, offseason signing Hakeem Nicks, Wayne, Coby Fleener, rookie Donte Moncrief, and the always intriguing Da’Rick Rogers, star quarterback Andrew Luck should engineer one of the league’s most explosive passing attacks as he earns greater responsibility in what should be a monster third year in this league.
Of course, Wayne will be a key part of that, even if Nicks has a bounce-back season and earns more targets than him. It’s possible that Wayne could end the season as the team’s third-best receiver, but there’s no shame in that given how talented Hilton and Nicks are. But Wayne will be important as a leader and as a possession receiver, since route-running savvy and hands don’t decline. He had a whopping 106 receptions in 2012 and was averaging about 72 receiving yards per game last season, so he should still be a very effective player this season.