Colts are hurting

The Patriots may not be willing to look ahead past Sunday.

But if they were to, they’d find a hurting opponent gearing up for a titanic showdown. The Colts — whom New England takes on in Indy on the 15th — learned today that All-Planet safety Bob Sanders will need to surgery on his injured left shoulder, and will find out in the next day or so how long he’ll be shelved.

One starting corner, Marlin Jackson, suffered a torn ACL this week, marking the second straight season he’s had a year end with that injury. The other starting corner, Kelvin Hayden, is expected to be out for the next month with a knee injury of his own. And just when it seemed like Anthony Gonzalez was going to return from a knee injury suffered in the season opener, he was back having the knee scoped this week.

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If there’s any solace in Indy, it’s that these injury issues pale in comparison to what the Colts dealt with last year, and they came out of that at 12-4. That and, of course, that Peyton Manning’s the quarterback and seems to be operating at as high a level (71.1 percent completion rate, 15-4 TD-INT, 109.3 rating) as he ever has, and that’s with Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie as his second and third options on the perimeter.

Still, for the Colts, the task of playing Houston this week and New England next week with three-quarters of the starting secondary in street clothes is daunting, to say the least.

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