The Indianapolis Colts may have pulled off a huge upset on Sunday Night Football by defeating the Denver Broncos, but they paid the steep price of losing wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the remainder of the year to a torn ACL. A perennial Pro Bowler, Wayne had played in 189 straight games, a streak that will end with the news of the injury.
Quarterback Andrew Luck was stellar throughout the night, but placed the blame for Reggie Wayne’s season ending ACL tear on his own shoulders. Blaming an underthrown ball on the play that saw Wayne fall to the turf for causing the devastating knee injury to occur.
The play occurred in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s contest. Reggie Wayne ran a crossing route and was lost in the coverage, alone on the left side of the field. Andrew Luck was under significant pressure and managed to escape long enough to get off a pass. Had there been enough time for Luck to properly step into his throw, Wayne would have had a walk in touchdown. That wasn’t the case however and the pass came up short. Wayne had to stop and adjust to the ball, causing his knee to buckle.
“I think I feel sick to my stomach about it a little bit,” Luck said after the news.
Given that Reggie Wayne is now 35 years old, one has to speculate whether or not this will prove to be a career-ending injury. Coach Chuck Pagano quickly weighed in on the matter, stating that he believes we have not seen the last of the talented receiver.
“He’s not going out like this. He’s not going to leave this game like this. There’s no way. He’ll fight, he’ll get his surgery, and he’ll rehab and he’ll grind like nobody’s ever grinded,” Pagano said.
Currently age has not slowed down Wayne. Despite being the team’s oldest receiver, he remains the number one target in the offense when healthy. He is leading all Indianapolis Colts in 2013 with 38 receptions for 503 yards on the year. For his career he has 1,006 catches for 13,506 yards.
Those numbers are not the only way Reggie Wayne was benefiting the Indianapolis Colts. Besides being a top producer on the field, he also is perhaps the biggest presence in the locker room.
“He means a lot,” fellow receiver T.Y. Hilton said. “Everybody looks up to him. He’s a 13-year vet and it’s something we hate to see happen. We’re praying for him and we hope for the best. … It’s tough, but we’re going to play for him.”
The Indianapolis Colts are no strangers to adversity, last year Chuck Pagano missed time with leukemia. They responded by going 11-5 and making the playoffs. This season they were supposed to fall back down to Earth, but have instead taken control of the AFC South with a two game lead as we approach the halfway point of the season. It wouldn’t be wise to bet against this team rising up once again in the wake of Reggie Wayne’s season ending ACL tear.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express