ANDERSON, Ind. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:
Colts coach Chuck Pagano has constantly defended his players when it comes to taking the cautious approach with them returning from injuries. But Pagano acknowledged it's getting close to the time for the injured players to get on the practice field. Safety LaRon Landry (groin) and cornerback Vontae Davis (groin) have yet to practice in training camp, which has been going on for a week now. The two are making their way to getting on the field, though, as they both recently worked out on the side in shoulder pads. "We want them back, like we've talked," Pagano said. "We need them to get out there, they need to get out there. They need to start practicing. They're doing a great job with the rehab, the trainers are pushing them. They're very, very close. Again, they need to start playing football. They need to get their helmets on, their shoulder pads on, and the full pads on, thigh pads, knee pads. And they need to get in the huddle. They need to start communicating with their teammates and like I said, playing football. So as soon as we can get them back, we're going to make the right decision when that is and certainly they have to start playing."
The Colts held their annual evening practice in front of 7,504 fans at Anderson (Ind.) University on Thursday. "Any time we get under the lights, little bit of a change-up, fans in the stands, all those kind of things, it always adds a little bit of extra excitement and a little bit of extra energy," Pagano said. "Our guys know, regardless of when we practice, whether it's in the morning, 1:50 in the afternoon, or a night practice under the lights, their mindset, our mindset is we got to go out and get better and can't waste a day."
The Colts have lost two players -- running back Vick Ballard (Achilles) and guard Donald Thomas (quad) -- to season-ending injuries in the past week. Pagano was asked if there was anything they could have done differently to avoid the injuries. Ballard and Thomas both suffered season-ending injuries in 2013, too. "You guys have asked a million questions about 'Why aren't we in pads?' or days off," he said. "We had a plan for all those guys. Donald was one of those guys that would practice two days and be off a day. We were going to monitor every one of those guys and see how many reps they took each day. We had a plan and we're going to look at the tape and see how things happen, we know some are non-contact, look at what happened to Donald. It's unfortunate but we are doing our due diligence and weighing every part of football."
The Colts placed Thomas on injured reserve as expected Thursday and signed offensive tackle Eric Pike to take his spot on the roster. Pike spent two days with the Colts during the offseason.
The Colts will only have one practice Friday from 1:50 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.