ANDERSON, Ind. -- Darrius Heyward-Bey spent Monday afternoon watching Colts' practice.
He moved around gingerly on his sprained left knee, but didn't need crutches. Afterward, Colts spokesman Avis Roper told reporters that Heyward-Bey's sprained left knee was "not serious."
Yet the question has not change: How much time will he miss?
Teammates and coaches insisted after Monday's morning workout that the free-agent receiver might be back on the field soon.
"Yeah, it stinks when a guy goes down but it is the nature of football and hopefully it is not too serious, I don't think it is," quarterback Andrew Luck said. "I feel very comfortable with all those guys, they do the right things, they run the right routes at the right time, they know how to get to the spot."
The timing couldn't be worse.
Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft, had a solid first week at training camp, impressing everyone from Indy's second-year franchise quarterback to perennial Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne.
Then, Sunday afternoon, Heyward-Bey suddenly wound up on the ground. He was taken to training tent, treated and watched the end of practice with ice around the injured knee. By Monday morning, Luck and the Colts coaches sounded optimistic, though there were clear concerns about what a prolonged absence would mean for a team already short on proven receivers.
"We feel like our backups are very capable, and we expect the next man to step up," new offensive co-ordinator Pep Hamilton said.
Hamilton may get a longer glimpse at those backups than he expected in Sunday's preseason opener against Buffalo.
If Heyward-Bey doesn't play, the Colts will be down to Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, one of the league's top rookie receivers last season, and second-year receiver LaVon Brazill, who must serve a four-game suspension from the NFL after violating the league's substance-abuse policy for the second time. Also expect to see plenty of Griff Whalen, who played with Luck and in Hamilton's offence at Stanford. He spent last season on Indy's injured reserve list and has played well so far at camp.
Heyward-Bey isn't the only concern.
Linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who set the Colts' single-season record for tackles (203), sat out with a shoulder injury. The team did not provide details of the injury or how much time Freeman might miss.
Colts cornerback Greg Toler did make it back to practice after missing three full days of practice with a concussion.