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Colts’ Leonard (back) set to make season debut

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INDIANAPOLIS — Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard is active for Sunday’s home game against the Tennessee Titans, meaning the All-Pro is set to make his 2022 debut after recovering from offseason back surgery.

Leonard’s rehabilitation ends a years-long battle with ankle and leg pain that was, doctors finally discovered, caused partly by nerve issues originating in Leonard’s back. The recovery from the back surgery lingered, but Leonard returns just in time for an important AFC South matchup.

The Colts defense is coming off a strong performance in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, and the addition of Leonard figures to only be a boost. Leonard was a big reason the Colts were second in the NFL in turnovers in 2021, producing four interceptions, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries on his own.

Through three games, the Colts have produced three turnovers in three games after forcing nearly two per game last season (33 turnovers in 17 games).

Leonard isn’t expected to be completely healthy, but he and the Colts have exercised patience and believe he can now be effective.

“I would say he’s not going to be 100%, but we think when he plays we will have made the conclusion that he can play winning football and help us win a game and not be a negative factor on the outcome of the game,” Colts coach Frank Reich said.

 

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