Colts expect Holmes back for opener

ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts' quest to have continuity on their offensive line continues to take hits because of injuries.

The one bit of good news to come out of coach Chuck Pagano’s mouth late Saturday afternoon is that starting center Khaled Holmes' sprained ankle should be healthy in enough time for him to return to the lineup for the Sept. 7 opener against the Denver Broncos.

“Holmes is going to be [out] a couple of weeks,” Pagano said. “We’re optimistic that he’ll get back in time to get back in the lineup and have at least a week or so of practice. We’re optimistic that he’ll be back by the opener.”

Holmes injured his ankle on the Colts’ opening drive during their preseason opener against the New York Jets on Thursday. He was walking around the practice field wearing a walking boot on his left foot Saturday.

The injuries on the offensive line don’t stop with Holmes. Doctors, according to Pagano, are still looking at the MRI done on rookie Ulrick John to decide the best action to take with his injured ankle. A source said John broke his ankle during the game against the Jets. Xavier Nixon had surgery to clean up a “little meniscus” in his knee. Pagano gave about a three-week timetable on Nixon’s return.

The Colts re-signed Thomas Austin, who was on their practice squad last season, on Friday.

“We’d love to line up week in and week out with the same lineup, play 16 games with the same five. We had eight different lineups last year,” Pagano said. “The way things are going now, with the injuries we have now, it’s been difficult to get through the first portion of camp. It’s a challenge, but we have smart guys, we have tough guys.”

Rookie center Jonotthan Harrison will continue to work with the first unit while Holmes is out. The undrafted rookie out of Florida settled down after having two bad snaps once Holmes left the game Thursday.

“He played well, did some good things, minus the two snaps,” Pagano said. “He graded out pretty well. He’s been doing extremely well all camp. We’re proud of what John came in and did.”