After missing the Indianapolis Colts’ last three games, Shaquille Leonard will make his return to action in the Week 8 home matchup against the Washington Commanders. However, Leonard will not feature in the entirety of the contest, as head coach Frank Reich is set to have the fifth-year linebacker on a pitch count.
“I will tell you that Shaq (Shaquille Leonard) is going to be active,” Reich said during a press conference on Friday. “What happened is with Shaq, is when he came back Chris (Ballard) and I sat down (and) thought it would probably be two weeks before he played but he had a good week.
“He’s ahead of schedule, but not quite there yet so he will be on a pitch count. But he had a good week. … Our goal is to get him out there for 100 percent of the snaps as soon as we can, but we’re just not quite there yet. So, we are going to do what we think is best for Shaq and what’s best for our team.”
Leonard was sidelined from the Colts’ last three games after suffering a concussion and a broken nose during the Week 4 home clash with the Tennessee Titans. His return to in-game action following offseason back surgery lasted a mere 16 snaps. The three-time Pro Bowler collided with linebacker Zaire Franklin during a second down play in the contest, and while he was able to walk off the field on his own power, he was later ruled out for the remainder of the game after taking on the hard helmet-to-helmet hit.
Leonard returned to practice last week, but in the end, the Colts ruled him out from their Week 7 road showdown with the Titans. Reich noted that while the versatile linebacker cleared concussion protocol, the team felt that it was best to not allow him to play in the game after he was “completely inactive” in the previous two weeks.
Now, Reich is much looking forward to seeing Leonard back on the field.
“I’m excited to see him back out there,” Reich said. “I told him I wasn’t even expecting you to be out there this week. I really wasn’t. He had a good week of practice and looked good. So, excited to see him out there.”
The Colts head into Week 8 with an eye on moving over the .500 mark.