ANDERSON — The status of wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey’s left knee was a constant topic of conversation Monday at Anderson University.
The free agent addition watched both the morning walkthrough and the afternoon practice from the sideline with his left knee secured in a brace.
Reports appeared online suggesting the injury could cost DHB a fair amount of playing time. But the Colts downplayed those rumors, calling the injury a sprained left knee and saying it was not serious. The team declined to name a timetable for the receiver’s return.
If the injury — which has been reported unofficially as a Grade I sprain that would not need surgery if it responds to treatment — lingers into the regular season, it could be a problem for Indianapolis.
T.Y. Hilton took the bulk of DHB’s reps with the first team Monday, and Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill each saw increased time with the first unit as well.
But Brazill will miss the first four games of the regular season while serving a league suspension. And the depth behind him is thin.
If DHB can’t go in the season opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 8, someone out of a group that includes Nathan Palmer, Jeremy Kelly, Jabin Sambrano and Lanear Sampson will have to step up as the fourth wideout.
Or general manager Ryan Grigson will need to find reinforcement on the waiver wire.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton doesn’t believe the latter will be necessary.
“We feel like our backups are very capable,” he said, “and we expect the next man to step up.”
The Colts will open the preseason on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Buffalo Bills.
Running back Donald Brown helped make last season’s exhibition opener memorable, taking a short pass from Andrew Luck and rumbling 63 yards to the end zone on the first play from scrimmage.