A look at the Colts' defensive injuries

I got asked about injuries to the Colts' defense a couple of times in my live chat today. Hadn't gotten to do much homework on it at that point, which brings me to the topic now.

The Colts' secondary is banged up, and it has been all season. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden suffered a knee injury and concussion against the 49ers, and the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell says that [his status is uncertain](http://www.indystar.com/article/20091103/SPORTS03/911030370/1058/SPORTS03/Rough road ahead for Colts) this week. Hayden has started four games this season for the Colts; he also was bothered by a hamstring injury earlier in the season.

Cornerback Marlin Jackson hasn't played since Oct. 4 because of a knee injury. He started 28 consecutive games for the Colts before being placed on IR with a knee injury last season. According to Chappell, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said Monday that Jackson might return to face the Texans.

With those injuries, it's possible that two rookies will start at corner for the Colts this week. Jerraud Powers (5-10, 192), a third-round draft pick from Auburn, has started all six games he's played in this season. He sat out Week 2 while nursing a groin injury.

Jacob Lacey (5-10, 177), an undrafted free agent from Oklahoma State, is listed behind Hayden on the Colts' depth chart. He has played in all seven games, including one start at Tennessee in Week 5. Lacey had a pick-six against the Rams in Week 7.

Safety Bob Sanders, the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, missed the first five games of the season with a knee injury. He has missed at least 10 games in four of his six NFL seasons. But Sanders was back in the lineup for the last two games and seemed to find his footing against the 49ers, recording an interception and pass defensed.

Outside linebacker Tyjuan Hagler has an elbow issue that forced him out of the 49ers game. His status is uncertain, per the Indy Star's Phil Richards. Hagler has started every game this year and is tied for fifth on the Colts with 26 tackles.

That's a hearty list of injuries, but the Colts still have the seventh-ranked passing defense in the league this season at 180.1 yards allowed per game. And they have the league's No. 1 scoring defense, giving up just 13.0 points per game.

Defensive ends Dwight Freeney (8.0 sacks, including at least one in each game) and Robert Mathis (6.0 sacks) are wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, and it might not matter if the Colts start two high school corners if the Texans can't find a way to slow down the devastating pass-rushing tandem.

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