Colts' Harrison, 10 others, sit out Wednesday's practice

Updated: December 26, 2007, 7:45 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eleven Indianapolis Colts players, including eight-time Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison, missed practice Wednesday.

Harrison has not played since Oct. 22 because of a left knee injury and may miss his 10th consecutive game Sunday. Coach Tony Dungy has expressed hope Harrison would return and remains optimistic that Harrison will be available for the playoffs.

But the lingering knee injury has forced Harrison to miss 10 games this season, including the last nine, and generated plenty of questions whether he will play again this season.

"I'm not confused at all," Dungy said before practice. "When they say he can come back and have no further risk of injury, he'll be back. With the playoffs and more on the line, he might be able to go with the same injury that has kept him out. So I don't think it's confusing at all."

Whether Harrison plays Sunday against Tennessee could dictate how many snaps Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning gets.

On Monday, Dungy said if Harrison played this week he might keep Manning in the game longer to work on their timing. That was the case last year when tight end Dallas Clark returned in the regular-season finale after originally being diagnosed with a season-ending knee injury.

Clark has credited that game with helping him become one of Indy's key contributors during its Super Bowl run.

Manning, who said he has not practiced at all with Harrison recently, would like to see Harrison back on the field as soon as possible.

"Any time you have a chance to get some injured players back, it's always a positive," Manning said. "Dallas Clark was a great example of that last year, and it's a great credit to him that he got back on his own. The more games you play, the more advantageous it is."

Harrison could be part of a large contingent sitting out a game that has playoff implications for Tennessee and Cleveland but means nothing to the Colts' postseason positioning.

Anthony Gonzalez, Harrison's replacement, also sat out Wednesday with a concussion.

Dungy already said it's doubtful second tight end Ben Utecht (shoulder), defensive tackle Raheem Brock (ribs) and right tackle Ryan Diem (knee) would play against the Titans. All three missed Wednesday's workout.

Defensive end Robert Mathis, who has two sprained knees, safety Antoine Bethea (knee), defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock (groin) and defensive back Tim Jennings (concussion) also were out Wednesday.

Fullback Luke Lawton and defensive end Josh Thomas did not practice because they were ill.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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