Last week, Bob Sanders said he was as healthy as he has ever been.
Now, he will be out of action indefinitely.
Sanders, the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn biceps muscle in his right arm, an injury that could end his season again. Indianapolis Colts officials aren't yet saying how much time Sanders could miss.
Colts president Bill Polian, appearing on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," said the surgery -- performed by Dr. James Andrews -- was a success.
"We'll see over the next little while how much progress (Sanders) makes," Polian said. "He had the very same operation on the other arm last year and healed up in somewhere between 10 and 12 weeks. So if everything went swimmingly, you could probably anticipate that he would be back ... But we'll know more in a month in terms of the kind of progress that he's made. Right now, we're leaving him on the 53-man active roster, hoping and anticipating he'll be back some time before the season ends."
Sanders was hurt during Sunday's season opener when he awkwardly landed on his shoulder during the Houston Texans' first offensive series.
Sanders did light work during a non-contact practice Monday before having an MRI, then met with Andrews in Alabama to receive a second opinion Wednesday morning. Apparently, Andrews determined the two-time Pro Bowl safety needed surgery.
For Sanders, it's the latest addition to his long list of injuries.
Just 10 months ago, Sanders went on season-ending injured reserve with a torn biceps in the left arm. And since winning the league's top defensive honor and signing a five-year, $37.5 million contract after the 2007 season, Sanders has played in just nine games. He actually has missed more games (49) than he has played in (48) during his seven-year career.
Teammates are preparing for the worst.
The Colts' release said it would "monitor" Sanders' rehabilitation before making any additional decision on his status.
"There's definitely several different routes that he can go," Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday. "But it's way too early to say that he's definitely done for the season."
Melvin Bullitt, Sanders' replacement the last two seasons, is expected to rejoin the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Bullitt has started 21 regular-season games and four playoff games over the past two seasons while Sanders was out.
Bullitt again returned to the lineup when Sanders left the Houston game. Bullitt picked off a pass to set up the Colts' first touchdown.
"His situation is definitely unfortunate," Bullitt said Wednesday. "I've talked to him a little bit, and he's doing fine."
Bullitt's return to the starting lineup, Caldwell said, also means he'll see a reduction in special-teams duty.
Linebacker Clint Session (hamstring) and Freeney, who was given an extra day of rest, were the only other players to sit out Wednesday's practice. Left tackle Charlie Johnson did limited work as he recovers from a sprained right foot. Linebacker Cody Glenn (hamstring), defensive back Jacob Lacey (concussion) and center Jeff Saturday (right knee) were full practice participants.
But with Sanders' short-term and long-term future uncertain, the Colts can't afford to wait for answers.
"His presence will be missed," cornerback Kelvin Hayden said. "But like we say around here, it's next man up and we move forward."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.