Mailbag: Will Vick Ballard be productive Saturday?

Answering reader questions from Twitter on the Indianapolis Colts:

Mike Wells: If I had that answer, I'd run out and go play the Powerball because it means I'm good at predicting the future. Nobody, Vick Ballard included, knows how the running back will perform. You have to remember Ballard has not played in a game in almost two years. His last game was Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders way back in 2013. Now he's trying to regain the same form that allowed him to lead the Colts in rushing (844 yards) as a rookie in 2012 after being sidelined with a torn ACL and Achilles. Ballard's going to have a lot of rust and he has to get over the mental obstacle of not thinking about his knee and Achilles. That's a tough challenge. So don't be surprised if Ballard isn't out there running through and around Chicago defenders on Saturday. I will say this, though: Ballard has to show the Colts he can be a contributor because there's depth in the Colts' backfield at running back.
Wells: That's a good question. And it's a good problem to have if Josh Robinson continues to progress. A running game is something the Colts badly need to go with Andrew Luck's arm. It will help if the Colts have a number of players they can use behind Frank Gore to help save the 32-year-old Gore from having to take a pounding during the regular season. The goal is to have Gore's legs as fresh as possible for the playoffs.
Wells: You're right; the Colts could definitely use Thomas' services at guard after it was announced that Hugh Thornton would be "week-to-week." When the Colts say week-to-week, that usually means the player is out for a month or longer. But the problem is there's no timetable on when he'll come off the physically unable to perform list. Coach Chuck Pagano didn't sound overly optimistic when I asked him about Thomas on Thursday. "We are just waiting on the docs to give him the green light," Pagano said. "He is working his tail off doing the rehab. So I'm just waiting for them to get him out there. He's working on the field; he's doing all the things that he is supposed to be doing." The Colts did sign free agent guard Harland Gunn on Friday. He appeared in 13 games with the Atlanta Falcons during the past two seasons.