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Foster has season-ending surgery, leads bevy of Colts injuries

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster sustained a gruesome ankle injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so the four-year veteran had season-ending surgery Tuesday and isn't expected to return home until Thursday, vice chairman Bill Polian told radio listeners.

Foster, who suffered a partial dislocation of his right ankle, was one of the key cogs in the middle of the Colts' defensive line and often played alongside rookie defensive tackle Drake Nevis, who also left Monday night's game with an injury.

"Every1 is back at work on 3 hours' sleep/Players must rest all day n get treatment,if need b..I'll bring Eric back home,on my plane,midweek," Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter.

And it might be even worse on the offensive line.

Rookie left tackle Anthony Castonzo left Monday night's game after the opening series with an ankle injury. Backup Ben Ijalana left with a left leg injury during the fourth quarter. Neither returned, meaning the Colts finished the game without their top three draft picks -- Castonzo, Ijalana and Nevis.

Ijalana was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a person with knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because the team hasn't yet provided injury updates on any player other than Foster.

The injuries along the offensive line prompted Caldwell to move Jeff Linkenbach from right tackle to left tackle. He inserted Mike Tepper, who was signed off the practice squad Monday, at right tackle.

In addition, Ryan Diem, the longtime starter at right tackle who moved to right guard this season, has missed two consecutive games with a sprained left ankle.

It's a mess for a winless team looking for something, anything to pull it out of this funk.

And while the Colts could shore up things by adding free agents this week, they know it won't be a cure-all.

The new guys still would have to learn the offense on a short week, and coaches would have to make sure it doesn't slow down the progression of the Colts' offense. Or leave quarterbacks Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and recently signed Dan Orlovsky in more perilous predicaments than they've already faced in this brutal early season stretch.

"We have to be able to get it done, and we don't necessarily want to lament on the situation. It's always a challenge," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "Whether you're dealing with time constraints or whether you're dealing with injuries, it's a challenge."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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