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Freeney misses Colts practice, 'mates think he'll play

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dwight Freeney's injured leg muscle kept him
out of Wednesday's practice, and the Indianapolis Colts won't know
until later this week whether he'll play Sunday against
Jacksonville.

Freeney, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end and former NFL
sacks champion, injured the leg late in last Sunday's 43-24 victory
over Houston. He underwent an MRI Monday, and the Colts have
downplayed the severity of the injury. Coach Tony Dungy even had a
tough time describing it.

"I think Dwight's fine. He's walking around fine. He may rest a day or two at practice and you never know, but I expect him to go into battle with us Sunday."
-- Colts DT Montae Reagor

"I wish I could pronounce the name of the muscle where it's
hurt," he said after practice. "But it's somewhere in the leg
region, and the doctor said it's an obscure muscle."

Team president Bill Polian said on his weekly radio show Monday
night that Freeney had strained a gluteus muscle.

Freeney was not in the locker room for interviews Wednesday.

His potential absence is only one of the Colts' concerns.

They brought in Martin Gramatica for a workout because they're
uncertain about Adam Vinatieri's availability. Vinatieri hurt his
groin against the Texans and did not kick the last extra point or
the following kickoff.

Vinatieri, like Freeney, was not talking Wednesday and Dungy
said the team had not yet decided whether to sign Gramatica, who
has been unemployed since the New England Patriots released him
during training camp.

"He kicked well," Dungy said. "We think he'll be ready to go
if we need him. But we will have to evaluate Adam's situation and
see what he can do, then make a decision."

For the Colts, these injuries come as the three-time defending
AFC South champions anticipate another physical game against their
biggest division rival Sunday. The Colts have won nine straight
against division foes -- the last loss was to Jacksonville in
October 2004.

"We think we'll have at least seven guys ready on the defensive line and maybe eight. If we only have seven, someone will have to rotate at two positions. But like we always say, they have to be ready to go."
-- Colts coach Tony Dungy

The Jaguars beat defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh 9-0
Monday night.

"With the second division game at home, you realize how
important it is," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "It's decided
the division in the past, everything's right there."

If Freeney cannot play, the Colts (2-0) would be missing the
anchor of their defense. Freeney is the team's top pass rusher and
usually forces teams to dedicate multiple blockers to slow him
down.

At least one teammate expects Freeney to play.

"I think Dwight's fine," defensive tackle Montae Reagor said
before being held out of practice for the second straight
Wednesday. "He's walking around fine. He may rest a day or two at
practice and you never know, but I expect him to go into battle
with us Sunday."

Dungy is reserving judgment, for now.

Freeney is listed by the team as questionable along with 20
other players.

The Colts did have some good news Wednesday as starting guard
Ryan Lilja and backup linebacker Freddie Keiaho returned to
practice for the first time since August. Lilja hurt his right knee
during training camp, and Keiaho injured his left knee in the
preseason opener.

Their returns, though, paled in comparison to Freeney.

"We think we'll have at least seven guys ready on the defensive
line and maybe eight," Dungy said. "If we only have seven,
someone will have to rotate at two positions. But like we always
say, they have to be ready to go."