Harrison, Freeney, Sanders likely to miss Colts' training camp

Updated: February 14, 2008, 5:02 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts' injury problems could still be lingering wherever they hold training camp this summer.

President Bill Polian said Thursday he does not expect perennial Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison, Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders or former sacks champion Dwight Freeney to be ready to start training camp in July.

Sanders
Sanders

Dwight Freeney

Freeney

Marvin Harrison

Harrison

All three have had surgery, and Polian insists the team shouldn't bring them back before they're healthy.

"There's no reason to push them," Polian said. "We want them to be ready at the start of the season."

The three biggest names aren't the only ones who could land on the physically unable to perform list this summer. Linebacker Rob Morris and defensive tackle Anthony McFarland, who had knee surgery last year, could also be on the sideline in training camp.

But Polian expects everybody to be healthy in time for September's season opener.

He also reiterated he was ready to put the franchise tag on tight end Dallas Clark if a deal is not completed by Feb. 21. Clark has played an increasingly larger role in Indy's offensive success the past few seasons.

"It's too early to say because there's nothing going on that right now," Polian said. "But you have to presume you're going to use it."

The biggest question surrounds Harrison, who injured his left knee against Denver on Sept. 30 when another player rolled into him, and missed a career-high 11 games last season.

Polian said Harrison had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last month and has been rehabilitating the inflamed capsule in his left knee. Polian said Harrison's right knee is fine and the left one is healing and expects him to be ready by the season opener.

"He's still going through some therapy, but they are much more sanguine about getting it under control," Polian said. "The short version is that all the news is good."

Sanders had offseason shoulder surgery for the second straight year and showed up at the Super Bowl with his right arm in a sling.

Last year, Sanders had surgery on his left shoulder and didn't begin practicing until Aug. 22 -- after the Colts returned from training camp in Terre Haute. He might do the same this year.

"That's very likely," Polian said, acknowledging Sanders is likely to again start training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

The missed time didn't bother him in 2007. Sanders finished the regular season with 132 tackles, a career-high 3 sacks and two interceptions, becoming the first Colt to win the league's top defensive award.

Polian also believes there is no reason to rush Freeney's return after the three-time Pro Bowler had surgery on his left foot in November, or the possible comebacks of Morris and McFarland, who both sustained season-ending torn knee tendons last year.

"With Freeney, that [training camp] would be pushing it," Polian said. "It's my thought, with Dwight, he'll be ready opening day. With Anthony and Rob, we don't know yet. All three are a long way from a definitive mode."

The Colts must also decide where they will work out this summer.

Indy has spent the last nine years at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, but has not yet signed a contract to return. The old contract expired after last year's camp. When the Colts have looked for a new summer home in the past, potential sites have included Eastern Illinois University, the University of Louisville and St. Joseph's College in Rennselear.

"It's very much up in the air and, hopefully, it will get resolved sometime soon," Polian said. "It has to. It [Terre Haute] is still in the mix, but I wouldn't say it's a done deal by any means."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press