Indianapolis (AP) — Anthony Gonzalez may be out longer than the Colts
first feared and they appear to have a replacement for him, too.
Jim Caldwell said the third-year receiver could miss up to two months
after spraining ligaments in his right knee during Sunday's 14-12
victory over Jacksonville.
Indy has signed former Philadelphia
receiver Hank Baskett to take Gonzalez's place, and three-time league
MVP Peyton Manning hopes he can find his way around the offense fast.
The team made the announcement following Thursday's practice.
we can catch him up as soon as possible," Manning said. "It's a lot of
offense to learn in a couple of days but he's a veteran, so he could
The Colts play Miami on Monday night.
president Bill Polian said this past Monday that the Colts would only
sign a veteran receiver if Gonzalez was expected to miss more than four
weeks. The next day, in an interview on NFL Network, Polian
acknowledged Gonzalez was going to get a second opinion on the injured
Caldwell did not provide any new details about the injury
Thursday other than to say: "It could be two to between six and eight
Initial reports indicated Gonzalez would not miss more than six weeks.
Gonzalez for an extended period is a big blow to the Colts, who
expected their 2007 first-round draft pick to replace Marvin Harrison,
the franchise's career receiving leader, in the starting lineup this
season. Harrison was released in a cost-cutting move in February and
remains a free agent.
Gonzalez and Harrison put up nearly
identical numbers last season, and the Colts thought Gonzalez was
headed for a breakout year until he stepped across the line of
scrimmage late in the first quarter Sunday and crumpled to the ground
without touching another player.
The injury left the Colts (1-0)
thin at receiver. Aside from Reggie Wayne, the only other healthy
receivers on the roster are second-year pro Pierre Garcon and rookie
Austin Collie, a fourth-round draft pick from Brigham Young.
Both put in extra time in the film room this week.
is going to be a big part of our game plan, Austin Collie, too, no
question," Manning said. "But this is the NFL. You can't just draw up a
play and say this ball has got to go to Dallas Clark. Pierre has worked
hard over here, I think he spent six hours over the last two days
studying film and Austin has done that as well."
Collie already has learned one significant difference between college ball and the NFL.
didn't feel as prepared for Jacksonville as I should have been," he
said. "I think I underestimated what needs to be put into it, and I
think I learned that lesson. I'm getting in the film room more, seeing
how they disguise different coverages and different blitzes."
Baskett gives the Colts some intriguing possibilities. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he's bigger than any other Indy receiver.
spent all three of his previous NFL seasons with the Eagles, who
reached the NFC championship game last season. But Baskett has just 72
career receptions for 1,052 yards and six TDs, and he caught only one
pass for 6 yards in Sunday's rout of Carolina.
going to be a crash course," Baskett said after practice. "Everybody
talked about Philadelphia's offense. That was a lot to learn. But
coming in (to Indianapolis) during the season and getting here, there's
definitely a lot to learn. Peyton and the guys stayed out there with me
to throw a couple routes and just work me in. I'm definitely up to the
The Eagles released Baskett on Wednesday.