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Colts put LB Brackett, SS Bullitt on injured reserve

INDIANAPOLIS -- One injury turned the Colts' offense upside down.

Two injuries could do the same to the Indianapolis defense.

Already playing without Peyton Manning, the Colts have now lost linebacker Gary Brackett, their defensive signal-caller, and starting safety Melvin Bullitt for the rest of the season. Both were placed on injured reserve with shoulder injuries Wednesday.

It's another big blow to the reeling Colts, who are 0-3 for the first time since 1998. They visit Tampa Bay on Monday night facing the prospect of their first four-game losing streak in 10 years.

Players and coaches were not available for immediate comment Wednesday because it was an off day for the team.

Brackett has been one of the mainstays in Indy's defense since becoming the starting middle linebacker in 2005. The defensive captain had started 85 of 99 games since '05 and he has traditionally been one of the team's top tacklers. He finished with a career high 149 in 2007 and made at least 100 tackles in five consecutive seasons before finishing with 74 in an injury-plagued 2010.

Brackett hurt his left shoulder in the season-opening loss at Houston, missed the last two games and had already undergone season-ending surgery, the team said in a release. Indy did not provide additional details about the injury.

Just two days earlier, Brackett had said his playing status had not changed.

"I'm still the same, day-to-day," he said Monday. "I'm still sore and still recovering, so we'll see how it goes."

He'll be replaced by Pat Angerer, a second-year player out of Iowa. Angerer started 11 games last season and all three this year, the last two in place of Brackett. Angerer finished with 75 tackles as a rookie and had 20 in Sunday's night loss to Pittsburgh.

Bullitt signed a new three-year contract with Indy in July and was expected to replace the oft-injured Bob Sanders, who was released before the lockout.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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