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Colts place DeForest Buckner on COVID-19 list ahead of matchup with Derrick Henry, Titans

DeForest Buckner, Colts, Derrick Henry, Titans

The Indianapolis Colts enter this weekend’s game against Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans as a top-five scoring defense in the NFL.

However, that defense might be without one of its best players as Indy prepares to take on the league’s leading rusher.

The Colts have placed star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner on the reserve/COVID-19 list, placing his status in doubt for Sunday.

Buckner has been everything the Colts hoped he would when they traded the No. 13 pick in this past April’s NFL Draft to the San Francisco 49ers to acquire the run-stuffing tackle.

A number of pundits wondered whether Buckner — who subsequently signed a big extension with Indy — was worth that kind of draft capital.

As it turns out, he has been a transformative figure for Indianapolis’ defense.

The Colts had traditionally struggled against the run in recent years. But Indy ranks third in both rushing yards allowed and yards per carry thus far despite usually relying on a four-man rush to make plays in the backfield.

Buckner has made plenty of plays. He has 41 combined tackles, four coming for a loss. The seemingly modest 2.5 sacks distracts from the fact Buckner also has 16 quarterback hits.

Naturally, the Colts will have their hands full against Henry and the Titans if Buckner cannot go.

Henry, the reigning rushing champion, once again leads the NFL in rushing yards and is coming off an explosive second half against the Baltimore Ravens last weekend.

The Colts will hope Buckner will be available in this pivotal AFC South matchup.