INDIANAPOLIS — It started with an innocuous comment from Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard to the team’s website Tuesday night.
Then a few more eyebrows were raised when Colts head coach Frank Reich doubled back to clarify an answer during his regular Wednesday news conference.
It’s not likely wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will play in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, but he isn’t officially being ruled out yet. That’s remarkable given just a week ago the veteran was expected to miss the better part of a month with a calf injury.
“I think he’s making progress, but I’m only saying this ’cause it’s T.Y.,” Reich said. “The guy’s weird. He’s like a freakish healer. And he doesn’t say a lot. He just kind of figures out how to do it.”
Hilton’s return at any point ahead of his three-to-four week prognosis would be especially welcome for a banged up Indianapolis receiving corps.
Parris Campbell became the latest player to go down Sunday with a fracture in his hand. There is no public timetable for his return.
Veteran Devin Funchess also remains sidelined with a broken clavicle suffered in Week 1. Funchess is on injured reserve but has been eligible to return to practice in each of the past two weeks. That’s not expected to happen before next week.
For the time being, the Colts have just four healthy receivers for this week’s game — breakout star Zach Pascal, veteran return man Chester Rogers, struggling Deon Cain and undrafted rookie Ashton Dulin.
An early return by Hilton would not be unexpected by his teammates.
“When they say he might be out four-to-five weeks, in reality, that’s like two weeks to him,” Rogers said. “I’ve seen him recover pretty fast. So I don’t ever count him out. I just — whenever he says he’s ready, he’ll be ready.”
Hilton famously played the final six games last season, including both postseason contests, with high and low sprains on the same ankle. He participated in just one Friday practice during the stretch but managed two 100-yard games and helped lead Indianapolis to five wins.
So the possibility of Hilton lining up Sunday or next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t too difficult to believe.
“Would it shock me?,” Rogers said. “No, it wouldn’t. He recovers pretty fast. So I just don’t ever count him out.”
Cornerback Pierre Desir has missed the last two games recovering from a hamstring injury.
He was upgraded from doubtful to questionable ahead of Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh but ultimately was inactive on game day.
Still, the improvement has continued as Indianapolis prepares for Miami.
“It’s a good sign he will be in practice and hopefully take the next step,” Reich said. “Obviously, if we felt he was completely ready he would’ve played last week. So, hopefully, he will get in there this week.
“I would be optimistic for it, but I don’t want to be overly optimistic. I want to let it play out and make sure he feels great after two full days of practice, which he hasn’t had in a while.”
Campbell, Hilton and safety Malik Hooker (knee) were the only players on the 53-man roster not to participate in Wednesday’s practice. Hooker suffered torn meniscus in his knee on Sept. 22 and will bear watching as the week goes on.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee), Desir and safety Clayton Geathers (rest) were limited participants.
Center Ryan Kelly (burner) was a full participant after being knocked out of Sunday’s game in the second quarter.