Indianapolis Colts coach Bruce Arians has never been a fan of Thursday night football. Imagine how he felt when he saw Monday's injury report.
Eight Colts starters did not participate in practice and six of those were injured or reinjured in Sunday's win over Miami: right tackle Winston Justice, outside linebacker Robert Mathis, cornerback Jerraud Powers, running back Donald Brown, center Samson Satele and wide receiver Donnie Avery.
The Colts (5-3) play at the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) on Thursday night in their only scheduled prime-time game.
“The recovery time from Sunday to Thursday is ridiculous, especially after playing a very physical game, and then to have to travel,” Arians said. “When you add the travel in, you may get some swelling out of your body, but on that airplane, you're going to swell right back up.
“It's just happened too many times,” he said. “I've seen guys that go in the game, get off the flight and can't walk. The traveling part of it is an added problem to an injury. So it's tough. The mental part of it is taxing on us also.”
Arians is hardly alone in disliking the Thursday night games because of the short recovery time. For the first time, however, every NFL team plays one Thursday night game, so everyone has to deal with it.
On the positive side, the Colts will then have extra time to prepare for a Nov. 18 road trip to New England. The NFL, incidentally, has flexed the New England game to a 4:25 p.m. start.
“(Playing Thursday) is great for television,” Arians said. “It's great for the NFL Network, obviously. But I think it's very, very taxing on these athletes, especially when we talk so much about player safety. But it is what it is and we all have to deal with it.”
Arians said he wanted to be careful not to be too critical of the NFL's Thursday night plans for his bank account's sake.
“I'm trying not to get fined,” Arians said. “I don't make enough to get fined. It's extremely hard on their bodies. We all know that television is extremely important to our business and it's part of the collective bargaining agreement that we all decided on, so that's what we're going to do."
Pagano's good news
Colts coach Chuck Pagano stopped by the practice complex before going for more leukemia treatment Monday. His doctors have said his leukemia can be said to be in “remission,” but it's important to go through the full treatment.
Pagano attended the Colts win over Miami on Sunday and gave an emotional speech after the game. Many of the players were seeing him for the first time since he was first diagnosed on Sept. 26.
“He knows that this next one is going to be really tough and we're praying for him and he's going to be fine,” Arians said. “Once he comes back from Round 2 and is about to head into Round 3, our goal is for him to be on the sideline Dec. 30.”
Luck issues a passing grade
Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck was asked to give himself a grade for his first half season in the NFL. Despite setting a rookie record with 433 yards passing against the Dolphins, he was a tough grader.
He gave himself a C, which a reporter suggested was a little harsh.
“Well I think a perfect grade would be if you won every game, didn't have any incompletions, no interceptions, so we'll keep working until we get to there,” Luck said.
Arians was more generous in his assessment.
“Probably an A,” Arians said. “There are only a few throws we'd like to have back from him. His overall performance has been outstanding. He's kept us in games, he's won games. The way he's played in the two-minute phase of the game and the no-huddle phase now, has been way beyond his years.”