Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard missed 15 games of the 2013 season with a torn ACL, and he was cleared for training camp and ready to make up for the lost time. Instead, Ballard was carted off the field yesterday with an apparent left ankle injury that he suffered while running a passing route, and we immediately began to fear the worst for a player who already suffered enough bad luck last season (the torn ACL occurred during practice after Ballard ran for 63 yards on 13 carries in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders). ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported yesterday that Ballard tore his Achilles, following a report that Ballard would have an MRI done on his ankle.
Today, Colts beat writer Kevin Bowen tweeted that head coach Chuck Pagano has confirmed Ballard’s injury as a torn Achilles after confirmation from an MRI. Ballard will be placed on the injured reserve list, officially ending his season and confirming what we expected after Mort’s report confirmed our worst fears.
It’s a crushing blow for Ballard, and it hurts the Colts depth at the running back position. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw are clearly more talented backs, but Bradshaw has injury woes and cannot be trusted to consistently carry the ball. T-Rich is a former top-five pick and Heisman winner who can force missed tackles like crazy, but he has to be a more consistent rusher. Richardson should seize the feature back role, but he’s no guarantee. Ballard, who now has his own injury demons with back-to-back severe injuries, was a safe, solid ball-career as the Colts No. 3 back, and he will be missed. The Colts will now have to turn to the underwhelming duo of Chris Rainey and Dan Herron to duke it out for No. 3 RB duties.