Shaquille Leonard returns to Colts practice after missing training camp due to back injury

Shaquille Leonard returns to Colts practice after missing training camp due to back injury
USATSI

The Indianapolis Colts had a sight for sore eyes during Wednesday’s practice. There, linebacker Shaquille Leonard was able to make his return after missing all of training camp due to a back injury that required surgery in June and also gave him problems with his ankle and calf.

This positive development comes after the Colts activated him off of the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday before the cut deadline to get to the opening 53-man roster. Had Leonard remained on that list, he would have been required to miss the first four games of Indianapolis’ season, so this is an overall good sign for the linebacker’s chances of suiting up sooner rather than later. However, as head coach Frank Reich noted in mid-August, just because he’s activated and back on the field doesn’t necessarily mean he’s 100%.

“I think when he gets cleared, he’s not going to be 100 percent and he’s going to have to work his way back into it,” Reich said on Aug. 18, via ESPN. “This has happened to everybody. All the great ones. I remember back in 2008, Peyton [Manning] had the knee [injury] and he played the first four games and he was a mere shell of [himself]. But we still found ways to win those games. He found ways to play winning football until he, around Week 5 or Week 6, hit his stride.

Still, seeing him on the field is certainly a step in the right direction.

The 27-year-old is coming off an All-Pro season in 2021 where he totaled 122 tackles, eight forced fumbles and four interceptions in 16 games played. The Colts are currently the betting favorite to win the AFC South with new quarterback Matt Ryan at the helm and a healthy Leonard would go a long way in ensuring they’ll reach the postseason.

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