Colts lose WR Wayne with season-ending knee injury

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Obstacles can be more difficult for older athletes such as Wayne, who turns 35 next month and will be heading into the final year of his contract next season.

“There is a thought that the recovery process might be a little slower in athletes as they get older, but there aren’t any real studies that show it’s harder to recover,” said Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, S.C. “We think being a high-level athlete in good shape can help because we know that the strength of the muscle going in plays a role how fast you get back. But being a higher level athlete, also means you have a higher bar to achieve to getting back.”

The Colts have seen this scenario before.

In 2007, the then 35-year-old Harrison injured his knee while making a block when another player rolled up on the back of his leg. He missed most of that season and was never the same. He finished 2008 with 60 catches for 636 yards and five TDs but never played another down in the NFL after that season.

Pagano doesn’t believe it will happen to Wayne.

“You just look in the man’s eye. When he tells you he’s going to do something, I can just look in his eye,” Pagano said. “Again, I’ve known him for a long time and watched him work over the years and he says I’ll be back, I trust he’ll be back.”

Since dealing with a high ankle sprain and a sprained knee, which cost him three games as a rookie in 2001, Wayne had not missed a game. That streak that will officially end Nov. 3 at Houston when the Colts return from their bye week.

Pagano would not say if the Colts will shop for another replacement.

For now, they plan to go with the receivers already on the roster _ Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, LaVon Brazill and David Reed _ and perhaps activate one or both of the team’s practice squad, Da’Rick Rogers or Griff Whalen.

Losing Wayne hurts even more because of what has already happened to Indy’s offense.

Starting tight end Dwayne Allen (hip), Indy’s top two running backs, Vick Ballard (knee) and Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), and starting left guard Donald Thomas (quad) are already on season-ending injured reserve. Wayne is likely to join that list soon.

“The first thing out of his mouth is he feels like he let his teammates down because he can’t be there now. That’s how unselfish this guy is,” Pagano said. “Like I told you, he could give a hoot about the numbers, all that stuff. He just wants to play and help us win a championship. That’s what he’s dealing with right now.”

Notes: The MRI on Samson Satele’s injured right knee was negative and the Colts’ starting center is considered day-to-day, Pagano said. … Pagano said most of the other injuries weren’t as serious as Indy first thought. Cornerbacks Greg Toler and Josh Gordy both have strained groins, while backup linebacker Mario Harvey injured his hamstring and Cam Johnson hurt his ankle. … Pagano gave team owner Jim Irsay a game ball following Sunday night’s win. Pagano credited Irsay for helping him and his family during last season’s battle with cancer. … The Colts are taking the rest of this week off.

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