Shaquille Leonard

When the Indianapolis Colts open their 2022-23 season against the Houston Texans on Sunday, they’ll be doing it without one of their top defensive players as the team has ruled former All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard out of Sunday’s game.

Head coach Frank Reich said on Friday that Leonard is still recovering from offseason back surgery, according to ESPN. Even though Leonard was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, Reich explained that it was simply because Wednesday’s practice was non-contact.

“No setback,” Reich told ESPN. “The first day, we weren’t in pads, so there was nothing to limit him from. And then [Thursday], he did a lot. He got his share. But with the pads on and with him getting back into things, I just felt it was right to limit him.”

Reich did not offer a specific timetable for Leonard’s return but seemed confident in the team’s depth behind him.

“He’s a great player, he’s a great leader for us,” Reich said. “When you’re a great player like Shaq is — there’s no one better at his position — it sounds crazy to say this, [but] our guys have done a good job.”

The Colts will take on the Texans at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

[ESPN]