Elbow injury might force Colts' Reggie Wayne to miss a few games

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Colts might be without Reggie Wayne at least for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.

A source with knowledge of the situation said that while the injury to Wayne’s left elbow doesn’t appear to be serious, it could force him to miss a game or two. Coach Chuck Pagano didn’t reveal the results of a magnetic resonance imaging test on Wayne’s elbow during his Monday press conference.

Wayne suffered the injury in the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He went up for a pass from quarterback Andrew Luck and was knocked off balance by Bengals cornerback Adam Jones. Wayne cushioned his fall by using his left arm.

Wayne downplayed the injury after the game.

“I’m good now,” he said. “I just kind of fell on it, fell on my arm.

“Go home, have an adult beverage and see how it feels in the morning.”

That home remedy apparently didn’t do the trick.

The news comes one year to the day after Wayne suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Denver Broncos. Prior to the Oct. 20, 2013 injury, he had appeared in 189 consecutive games, at the time the longest active streak among receivers.

It’s uncertain whether the elbow injury impacted Wayne’s performance against the Bengals, but it was very un-Wayne-like nonetheless. He finished with four catches for 15 yards, and suffered two uncharacteristic drops.

Despite the meager numbers, Wayne became just the ninth player in NFL history with at least 14,000 career yards. He sits at an even 14,000, and needs five yards to pass James Lofton into the No. 8 spot in league history.

While Wayne mends, Hakeem Nicks might be given a heavier workload.

One of the team’s off-season acquisitions has provided only moderate contributions through seven games with 17 receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

Nicks had just two catches for 18 yards at Houston and had no catches while being targeted once against the Bengals.

The Colts also are awaiting MRI results for linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hip) and running back Trent Richardson (hamstring).

Coach Chuck Pagano wouldn’t elaborate on Richardson’s injury, but was optimistic Freeman was “going to be OK.”

Freeman has missed three games this season with a hamstring injury.

Shutout? Rare indeed

Pagano remained more than a little impressed by the shutout recorded by his defense at the expense of the Bengals.

It was just the sixth by the Colts since their relocation to Indy in 1984, and the first since 2008.

It also was just the third Pagano has been associated with during an NFL coaching career that spans 13 years and four franchises.

He was Baltimore’s secondary coach in 2009 when the Ravens stoned the Browns 16-0 in Cleveland and held the same position with Oakland in 2001 when the Raiders shut out Cincinnati 18-0.

“Phenomenal,” Pagano said. “The way offenses are nowadays, (the Bengals) put up 37 points the week before and they were averaging 400 yards a game. The way kickers are ... it’s next to impossible to be able to play that dominant and play that well for 60 minutes.

“It’s tremendous. It speaks to the sacrifice and the hard work and the time these guys are putting in.”

Costly ejection

LB Erik Walden’s Sunday afternoon at the office was cut short when he was ejected from the Bengals game in the second quarter after making contact with line judge Gary Arthur.

The next hit could come to Walden’s wallet. According to the NFL’s list of fines, a player could face a maximum fine of $27,562 for a first offense. Each incident is considered on a case-to-case basis.

Sunday’s incident marked the second time in the last 14 games Walden has run afoul of the NFL. He was suspended one game without pay ($176,470) in week 11 last season for head-butting Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker.

Statistically speaking

The Colts have won five straight for the first time since 2009. Credit complementary football.

Their offense is ranked No. 1 in yards per game allowed (452.9) and passing (329.6) and No. 2 in scoring (30.9) while the defense is ranked No. 3 in yards allowed (311.1) and No. 4 in scoring (19.4).

The defense continues to lead the league in preventing third-down conversions (20-of-77, 26 percent). Over the past four games, opponents have converted only 4-of-41 times on third down. During that stretch, opposing QBs have been woefully ineffective on third down: 13-of-32 for 134 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 27.3.

“The whole defense is feeding off of each other right now,” Pagano said. “The energy that they’re playing with, the effort that they’re playing with right now ... anytime you have success like they’re having, the confidence level is at an all-time high.

“They’re accountable to each other. They don’t want to be ‘the guy.’ We always talk about don’t be ‘that guy,’ and that guy is the guy that lets the team down because you haven’t prepared or you haven’t put enough time in.”

Win No. 500

For those keeping track at home, the Colts’ win over the Bengals was the 500th overall in franchise history. The breakdown: 268 wins in Indianapolis, 232 in Baltimore.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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