Dwight Freeney walked in and out of the Colts locker room with no detectable limp and no crutches Wednesday.
It’s a long way from competing on game day.
Indy’s best pass-rushing end told reporters he hopes to recover quickly enough from a strained right quadriceps to play Sunday against Seattle even though that appears unlikely.
“Of course, there’s frustration because you want to be out there, and I’m not going to say it’s done (this week) yet,” Freeney said. “I want to be out there.”
A typical quad injury keeps players out two to four weeks. But Freeney isn’t willing to accept that prognosis just yet.
Instead, the four-time Pro Bowler and former league sacks champ provided Indy’s new standard answer, saying he was day-to-day though he missed Wednesday’s practice.
Indy (3-0) also is leery about setting a timetable for Freeney’s return, in part because of Freeney’s previous injury history.
“We’re just not quite certain how long exactly it will take him,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s always been a quick healer.”
Caldwell isn’t waiting to make contingency plans.
If Freeney can’t play Sunday, veteran defensive lineman Raheem Brock will move into the starting lineup opposite Robert Mathis, another Pro Bowl defensive end. Brock has played end and tackle for the Colts, making 96 starts for the Colts over the past eight seasons. This year, Brock has been used primarily in the standup position, moving around the line to give opponents different looks.
“Yeah, I’m in the starting lineup,” Brock said. “They (injuries) are part of the game. You’ve got to go out and pick it up, especially with Dwight out.”
Caldwell said opponents also may see more of Eric Foster and Keyunta Dawson, last year’s starting defensive tackles, on the outside and perhaps linebacker Philip Wheeler, who played there after Freeney was hurt late in the third quarter Sunday.
Dawson sat out Wednesday’s practice with a foot injury.
Another problem for the Colts — defensive depth. In addition to Freeney, middle linebacker Gary Brackett, safety Bob Sanders and cornerback Kelvin Hayden — all starters — could miss Sunday’s game, too.
All three missed Sunday’s game and none practiced Wednesday, though Brackett (sprained knee) and Hayden (hamstring) also have said they are day-to-day. Sanders, who had offseason knee surgery, has not practiced since training camp began in August.
The Colts adjusted last week by putting veteran Freddy Keiaho in Brackett’s spot and Tim Jennings in Hayden’s spot against Arizona.
Indy isn’t likely to rush any of the starters back into action.
“Being a player, you want to get out and compete and right now things just are not clicking,” Hayden said after re-injuring his left hamstring. “I was not 100 percent, but I think I was pretty close before this happened. Hamstrings linger with you the whole season, so you have to be smart about it.”
The schedule could wind up helping the Colts, though.
Indy hosts Seattle (1-2), which has had its own injury issues along the offensive line, then visits winless Tennessee — a game that could give the Colts the early inside track to reclaiming the AFC South title. Then Indy has a bye.
So if Freeney does miss three weeks, he could be back for the Colts trip to St. Louis on Oct. 25. Or sooner if Freeney gets his way.
“I’m walking fine, but you can’t walk on the field,” he said. “So I’ll do the rehab and see how it feels. If it doesn’t happen this week, it doesn’t happen.
“Every day, I wake up and hope it’s going to be today. If it’s not, I’m going to think it will be tomorrow and it’s not tomorrow, then I think it’ll be the next day. We’ll just have to see.”
Indianapolis also signed tight end Tom Santi to the practice squad and released tight end Colin Cloherty.
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