New Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton planned to center his offense more around the running game this season than former coordinator Bruce Arians did last season.
That goal got a whole lot tougher on Friday.
Starting running back Vick Ballard suffered a freak knee injury at Thursday's practice, a person informed of the injury told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed the injury on Friday, and tweeted that Ballard is headed for injured reserve. Shortly after Irsay's confirmation, coach Chuck Pagano told reporters that Ballard tore his ACL on a non-contact play and will have season-ending surgery.
Ballard, who led all Colts running backs with 966 yards from scrimmage as a rookie last year, rushed for 63 yards on 13 carries in the season opener.
"We know and understand injuries are part of this game," Pagano said. "We'll deal with it. Nobody handles adversity quite like this team and this locker room. It's next man up."
Ballard might not be a big name, but it's a huge loss for the team. He's strong in pass protection and as a receiver. While the late-offseason signing of Ahmad Bradshaw should help cushion the blow, he isn't built to "carry the load" at this stage of his career.
To help fill the void, the Colts will sign practice squad back Kerwynn Williams. Williams will join Bradshaw and the annually disappointing Donald Brown on the 53-man roster.
Another option for the Colts is to bring back Delone Carter, who was traded to the Baltimore Ravens during the preseason. Carter didn't make the Ravens' roster and now is a free agent.
The Colts are going to have to make some backfield adjustments before Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. It wouldn't be a surprise if they signed another back off the open market.
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