As Week 1 inches closer, fantasy managers and Colts fans alike are beginning to wonder about the status of Jonathan Taylor.
The Colts star requested a trade in late July and hasn’t been with the team for much of training camp, leaving his immediate status murky. With another absence on tap, is Taylor running out of time to be ready for the season?
Colts owner Jim Irsay has been adamant that the team isn’t exploring trades for Taylor, but to this point, the fourth-year back refuses to blink with his contract demands still not met.
Between the trade demand and an ankle injury that could still be lingering from last season, the questions about Taylor’s immediate future are beginning to pile up.
Here’s what you need to know when Taylor might rejoin the Colts and whether he’s in line to play Week 1.
When will Jonathan Taylor return?
Taylor’s potential return date remains up in the air after an announcement on Wednesday that he left Colts camp due to a personal matter. According to the team, his absence is excused, but Indianapolis didn’t offer more details.
After returning to Indianapolis on Monday, Colts’ RB Jonathan Taylor now has left again due to a personal matter. His absence, per the team, is excused.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 16, 2023
Prior to the announcement, Taylor was with the Colts but not practicing due to an ankle injury. He missed a portion of the 2022 season due to issues with the same ankle.
Taylor had just rejoined the Colts earlier in the week after rehabbing his ankle away from camp. Coach Shane Steichen didn’t offer a timeline when asked about Taylor’s potential return to practice, and updates have been minimal throughout camp.
“Hopefully, as we move forward here, we’ll get him back, but we need to get him 100 percent healthy before we do anything,” GM Chris Ballard told SiriusXM NFL on Tuesday.
Colts’ GM Chris Ballard speaks for the first time on RB Jonathan Taylor.
— Indy SportsOne (@IndySportsOne) August 15, 2023
How much of Taylor’s absence can actually be attributed to injury is up for interpretation. Irsay said Taylor was “healed up” in early July, though the Colts did place him on the PUP list before his trade request. With his latest absence labeled a personal matter, there is even less clarity on when Taylor might return.
Is Jonathan Taylor playing Week 1?
Taylor’s status for the Colts’ Week 1 game against the Jaguars remains uncertain. With Ballard using caution and saying the team needs him to be 100 percent healthy, it’s clear neither side is in any rush to find a solution. Taylor’s absence from camp for personal reasons only adds to the murkiness of the situation.
Taylor has not been ruled out for any game action during the regular season, but he remains on the PUP list and the two sides don’t appear close to any contract resolution.
If Taylor isn’t able to play in Week 1 or beyond, Deon Jackson and rookie Evan Hull appear to be the leaders in the clubhouse to head the Colts’ backfield. Indianapolis also signed Kenyan Drake in early August after losing Zack Moss to a broken arm, so he is on the team’s running back depth chart. The team worked out veteran running back Kareem Hunt during training camp as well.