Vick Ballard's season is over. The Indianapolis Colts running back has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a "freak" injury during practice Thursday. Head coach Chuck Pagano told Colts beat writer Mike Chappell that Ballard suffered an ACL tear in his right knee while planting his foot in practice. There was no contact.
Ballard earned the Colts' starting job in just his second year in the NFL. He had a solid Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, carrying the ball 13 times for 63 yards. Pagano confirmed that Ballard's injury will mean more touches for Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown. Bradshaw had seven carries for 26 yards against the Raiders. Brown did not touch the ball.
Ballard emerged as an effective bruiser last season despite being selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Mississippi State. He picked up 814 yards and two touchdowns on 211 carries, mostly filling in for the oft-injured Brown. Ballard's absence will also be a major blow to the passing game, according to Colts blog Stampede Blue, and could change the Colts' offensive gameplan going forward:
Ballard finishes the season after just one game, carrying the ball 13 times for 63 yards and blocking tremendously well in the passing game. He looked really good on Sunday, and no doubt this is a major blow for the Colts. A big one. It also causes me to wonder about the impact this has on the Colts' supposed "run first" mentality - will that be as strong now?