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Indy also activated undrafted rookie Mike Newton, a safety, from the practice squad and re-signed veteran safety Aaron Francisco, who played with the AFC champion Colts last season after spending 2008 with the NFC champion Cardinals.

The rash of injuries has hit the Indy defense hard.

Besides Sanders and Bullitt, starting linebacker Clint Session missed two games with a hamstring injury before he returned against the Jaguars. His backup, Kavell Conner, had surgery to repair a fractured left foot last week and has already been ruled out of this week’s game. Another backup linebacker, Ramon Humber, was put on the waived-injured list after fracturing his right hand two weeks ago, and the Colts lost six defensive backs to season-ending injuries during training camp.

Plus, they have to fix a defense that has struggled to pressure quarterbacks the past two weeks and is allowing nearly 150 yards per game, 29th in the NFL.

“The way to develop consistency, and I’m going to paraphrase the great John Wooden here, but the best way to help the team is to improve yourself,” Polian said. “So everybody on the team has to do the best they can do. If everybody concentrates the best they can do, if everybody goes out and does the best they can every week, things will work out.”

But it’s not just the defense taking hits.

Receiver Anthony Gonzalez is set to miss his fourth straight game this weekend against the Chiefs, and rookie kick returner Devin Moore will be placed on injured reserve with nerve damage in the neck or shoulder area.

Indy also released defensive tackle Mitch King from the active roster and receiver Alric Arnett from the practice squad, and signed receiver Kenneth Moore.