Colts caught off guard by Eric Ebron’s “unbearable” ankle pain

Getty Images

Colts tight end Eric Ebron described the pain in his ankle as “unbearable,” before this week’s decision to shut it down for the year.

It might also have been described as unexpected, at least to the Colts coaching staff.

Their top tight end going on injured reserve this week seemed to catch them off guard, and certainly left them with a hole in an offense that has had to deal with plenty of absences this year.

Via Zak Keefer of TheAthletic.com, Ebron had missed just one full practice because of the ankle injury this season (in Week Nine), and wasn’t mentioned by coach Frank Reich in discussing injuries after last Thursday’s loss to Houston.

Monday, Reich said he was “not aware there was anything significant” with Ebron’s ankle, and that a training camp scan didn’t show them any significant damage.

“I’m not saying [the scan in training camp] was 100 percent clean, but it was nothing that was limiting him in practice,” Reich said. “It didn’t limit him in training camp, it didn’t limit him in the season or in practice. Then, last week sometime, I don’t know if it flared up at practice or if it was the result of a previous game, but that was the first time that it had flared up to the point where it affected him as far as practice.”

After returning from last weekend off, Reich said Ebron informed them he couldn’t go on.

“We all talked it through together,” Reich said. “I had conversations with Eric. Chris [Ballard, the Colts’ General Manager], had conversations with Eric. The doctors. At the end of the day, this is what was thought to be the best decision.”

The one thing is absolutely appears to be, is a business decision. Ebron’s heading into free agency this offseason, and having surgery now will allow him to walk into the market healthier — effectively allowing the Colts to pick up the tab for the first stages of his rehab for his next team. Of course, it could still be them, unless they think he bailed on them.