Indianapolis Colts: Shaquille Leonard, LB of the Indianapolis Colts has been ruled out. WRs Michael Pittman and Alex Pierce are expected to play

INDIANAPOLIS – Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard Coach Frank Reich stated that he has made “incremental improvements” since his back surgery, but is still unable to play winning football and feel confident.

Leonard was expelled from Sunday's game against The Kansas City Chiefs Although he had practiced with the Colts the last three weeks, questions were raised about the timeline for the three time All-Pro selection.

Reich spoke out about Leonard's condition for the first time since weeks. He stated that the team is conducting its own evaluations and following the player's instructions.

Reich said, “It is a collaborative decision.” “But the player is the one who has to play. Only he knows what it feels like. We look at tape and can see that if you have tape from the previous year or the year prior, you can see that he is moving. It's not the exact same. We want it to look the exact same. It must look the same as when you were healthy.

“That's only one side. Shaq must feel it. That's the place it gets collaborative.

Leonard had back surgery in June to treat lower-body pain due to a nerve problem. Leonard and the Colts both said that the procedure had resolved the problem. However, it was a long process to recover from the surgery.

Reich stated that the injury was a bear. Reich said, “He is fighting and scratching every second to be back on the field. You can be sure of that. He's doing all he can to get out of there. It's killing Leonard.” Leonard could have been placed on the physically incapacitated to perform list or in the injured reserve, but that would have stopped Leonard from being able to practice with the team.

Reich stated that “we knew that if we don't take these other steps, everybody's going (he's still playing) Week 1 Week 2”. “It was a bit of a gamble that this last step would go quicker than expected, but everything is going according the plan. He is handling this difficult injury in a positive manner. His attitude is right and we will continue to follow the same course.

The Colts received positive injury news, with the expected return of receivers Michael Pittman Jr. (quad). Alec Pierce (concussion). Reich says Pittman is “ready to go.” Reich stated that Pierce passed concussion protocol Thursday and is now ready to play.

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (Back) will be listed as in doubt.

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