Anthony Richardson’s rookie season has been paused due to a shoulder injury, and it’s unclear just how long he’ll be out of action.
The Colts officially placed Richardson on injured reserve on Wednesday, guaranteeing he’ll miss at least a month after he suffered what NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported to be a Grade 3 AC joint sprain in Indianapolis’ Week 5 win over Tennessee. The four weeks required by IR might not be all, though, according to Colts head coach Shane Steichen.
“We’ll continue to evaluate that process,” Steichen said on Wednesday. “Don’t have a timetable to return.”
Steichen remained rather vague on all things regarding Richardson’s health, telling reporters the Colts will “look at everything” as it pertains to treatment options, including surgery.
“We’ll see what happens, what the doctors say with the final deal,” Steichen said.
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Richardson’s shoulder injury forced him out of action fairly early in the Week 5 game against Tennessee, marking the third instance this season in which he departed due to health reasons. A concussion suffered in Week 2 required the Colts to turn to veteran backup Gardner Minshew, who started in place of Richardson in Week 3, helping Indianapolis to an overtime victory over the Ravens. Minshew was called upon once again in Week 5, and managed to outlast the Titans for Indianapolis’ third win of the 2023 season.
Richardson also watched the final moments of the Colts’ season-opening loss to the Jaguars to what was described as knee soreness.
Minshew has experience as both a starter and backup, manning the top job in Jacksonville in 2019 and part of 2020 before moving onto Philadelphia, where he backed up Jalen Hurts in 2021 and 2022. Minshew went 0-2 as a starter last season, but is 1-0 in starts in 2023.
While not a spectacular quarterback, Minshew has done enough to help the Colts win so far this season. Steichen knows the Colts currently don’t have another option, but also didn’t shy from expressing confidence in the 27-year-old signal-caller.
“When you’ve got a guy like Gardner, a veteran guy that’s done it and done it at a high level, it definitely eases that,” Steichen said on Wednesday. “Like I said, the team has confidence in him, coaches have confidence in him to perform at a high level.”
The loss of Richardson is undoubtedly disappointing for the Colts, who might have finally found the answer they’ve so desperately sought since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement just before the start of the 2019 season. Richardson has found success with both his arm and legs, proving to be a special player in only the first few games of his promising career, so much that some saw Richardson potentially winning Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2023.
That campaign has been put on hold. The Colts will hope Minshew can play well enough to sustain their positive momentum for the next month — if not longer.
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