TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts likely will have to defend their Super Bowl title without a key member of their defensive line.
Defensive tackle Anthony McFarland, an important contributor in the Colts' championship season, will likely miss extensive playing time after injuring his knee in training camp.
McFarland hurt the patella tendon Friday and missed Saturday's
controlled scrimmage after an MRI showed the extent of the injury,
the team said.
Colts coach Tony Dungy called the injury serious and that it
might need surgery, but did not give details on how it happened.
"It's a long-term injury," Dungy said. "It's [surgery] something that we're contemplating. It's something that I think is going to happen."
McFarland, who was obtained in a trade from Tampa last season
and helped shore up the Colts' run defense in the playoffs, left
the field early during Friday's workout. He was sent to
Indianapolis for an MRI, along with strong side linebacker Rob Morris and defensive end Robert Mathis.
Morris returned to practice Monday, and Mathis was expected back
soon, but not McFarland.
"He's not going to be back in the next three or four weeks or
anything like that," Dungy said.
Raheem Brock will start at one defensive tackle spot, but it was
unclear who would eventually take over McFarland's role.
Rookie defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, a third-round draft pick
from Ohio State, could fill in. Pitcock practiced for the first
time Monday after missing the first week of camp with a leg injury.
Dungy also said rookie defensive end Keyunta Dawson will get a look.
Dawson, a seventh-round pick, has seen some work at defensive
tackle in camp and was impressive in the controlled scrimmage, with
two sacks, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble.
Dungy also did not rule out trying to find another defensive
tackle on the NFL's waiver wire or through a trade. But he said the
team would rather look at its own roster for help.
"We won't leave any stone unturned. But for the most part, guys
that are here are the guys that we're counting on," Dungy said.
Brock said it's up to the younger players to fill in.
"That's what we've got to do. When somebody gets hurt, another
guy has to step up," Brock said.
Even with the 6-foot, 300-pound McFarland, the Colts had problems against the run last season, allowing 173 yards on the ground per game. Now Indianapolis apparently will have to replace its best run-stuffer.
McFarland's injury comes soon after the team parted ways with defensive lineman Corey Simon, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and reportedly failed a Colts physical last week.
McFarland was acquired from the Buccaneers at the trading deadline last season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.