Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor will miss the team’s Thursday Night Football matchup against the Denver Broncos. The star running back has not had the best start in 2022 but is nevertheless a key contributor on an inconsistent Colts offense.

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The Colts announced Taylor’s inactive designation Wednesday, citing an ankle injury he sustained in Week 4. Taylor twisted his ankle late in the Colts’ game against the Tennessee Titans and didn’t return. He has only missed one game in his professional career, when he had to sit out in Nov. 2020 after landing on the COVID-19 list.

Though Taylor had a productive rookie season in 2020, the 23-year-old’s sophomore outing made him a household name, as he ran for a league-high 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. The Colts star was a unanimous selection for First Team All-Pro.

Though Indianapolis missed the playoffs in dramatic fashion in 2021, losing to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in the final game of the regular season, the team garnered a lot of hype going into 2022 after acquiring longtime Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Results have been mixed thus far; the Colts defeated Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs but tied the Houston Texans before losing to the Titans and an improved Jaguars team. Taylor has not been as strong as he was either and has only run for more than 100 yards once. An injury is yet another setback, but the team has not given any indication that he will miss extensive time.

Thursday night, Taylor’s absence could lead to increased aerial production from Ryan, who will try to improve his relationship with receivers Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox has also enjoyed a larger role in recent weeks. On the ground, backup running back Nyheim Hines is likely to take most of the workload, though Phillip Lindsay could also earn carries.

The Broncos, like the Colts, entered the season with high expectations that have not been met, as longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson arrived but has not yet delivered. This Week 5 effort will be important for both teams looking to kickstart their seasons with new franchise quarterbacks.

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