Jonathan Taylor Injury Update: Latest on Indianapolis Colts RB Heading Into Week 1

The start of the 2023 season is days away, but an elite back will not be seeing the field right away. Here's the latest on Colts RB Jonathan Taylor.

As little as a few days ago, I wasn’t sure if the title of this article would list Indianapolis Colts as Jonathan Taylor’s current team. It has been a crazy few weeks for Taylor and the Colts, but (as we stand right now) the star running back remains in the blue and white.

But beyond where Taylor may be playing this year (or the rest of his career), there’s also the fact that the Colts’ running back is dealing with an injury at the moment. How long will Taylor be out? And what are the ramifications for Indianapolis? Let’s dig in and find out!

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What Happened to Jonathan Taylor?

Taylor has been one of the most electric players in football since he joined the league in 2020. A second-round pick out of Wisconsin, Taylor became a household name in his sophomore season when he had 2,171 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns. Colts fans and his fantasy owners were in love with the young RB.

But last season, Taylor struggled to find explosive plays and ran into injury issues. In a Week 4 loss to the Titans, he sprained his ankle near the end of the contest, forcing him to miss three of the next five games.

Taylor would return to action before ultimately re-injuring the same ankle early in the team’s Week 15 matchup against the Vikings.

Taylor had surgery to clean up the ankle in the offseason, and it was reported that no structural damage was found. Many saw this as a positive and felt a strong likelihood that Taylor would find himself back on the field for training camp and Week 1 of the 2023 season.

Come this summer, Taylor has not only had contract disputes with Indianapolis that led to him seeking a trade, but he also continues to deal with pain in his ankle. After a trade partner wasn’t found on Tuesday, the Colts put Taylor on the PUP list, guaranteeing he will miss at least the first four games of the 2023 season.

In a press conference on Wednesday, GM Chris Ballard explained the decision:

“As for the decision to put [Taylor] on PUP: It’s when you’re still having effects from last year’s surgery and still having pain and not 100 percent. We’re not going to put a player on the field that’s still complaining of pain in the ankle. I wouldn’t do that to any player, wouldn’t treat anyone differently. So what Jonathan will do is he will rehab his butt off and try to get himself ready to go.”

What Are the Colts’ Options If Taylor Misses Time?

Indianapolis is in a bit of a pickle with the decisions on Taylor and the PUP designation happening so close to the season. Their RB room now consists of Zack Moss, Deon Jackson, and rookie Evan Hull.

Moss was acquired in a trade last season from Buffalo and had limited action with the team, carrying the ball 76 times in his eight games. He had 365 yards and one touchdown.

Jackson has played his first two seasons in Indy, but he’s never managed over 62 yards or 13 carries in a game, even in Taylor’s absences last year. And Hull was a solid back in his college career at Northwestern, but getting a big impact from a fifth-round rookie is not very typical.

Jonathan Taylor Injury Update: Latest on Indianapolis Colts RB Heading Into Week 1

There are still a few free agent backs on the market the Colts could consider. Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette are both team-less as this is written. But investing in a free agent back may not be in the cards for the Colts, especially if they do expect Taylor to return to the team later this season.

The question now is if Taylor will ever play for Indianapolis again. Injured or not, he’s made it very clear he’s upset with his contract situation and has said he will sit out if he has to. If the Colts aren’t planning on giving Taylor a bigger contract, they’re playing with fire if they think they can wait for him to return to the team mid-season.

What Does This Mean for Taylor’s Fantasy Ranking?

As we stand, Taylor’s stock has justifiably tanked in redraft leagues. He’s guaranteed to be out for the first four weeks, and there is no clear evidence that he will return after that.

Taylow is elite, so he’s not off my board completely. But I wouldn’t be drafting him until I have three other backs on my team that I know are projected to be playing all year.

As far as dynasty value, the uncertainty around Taylor is causing owners to panic quite a bit. If you happen to be a Taylor manager in dynasty, your best bet is to ride it out for now. Selling Taylor to another team is going to be selling at a low point. The news isn’t great, but you shouldn’t sell Taylor for pennies when you know he’s worth dollars.

MORE: Jason Katz’s Top Running Backs To Draft for Fantasy Football

If you don’t have Taylor in dynasty, it’s not a bad time to kick those tires on the Taylor manager who hasn’t heeded my advice. If you could acquire a 24-year-old back who has already had a season of over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in his career, you should always be interested. If you have some extra draft stock or a mid-level back that interests the Taylor owner, don’t be afraid to take a swing.

The near future is uncertain for Taylor, but I highly doubt this is the last we see of him. I fully expect he’ll be an elite back in the NFL again. If you can buy the dip for a reasonable rate, I would absolutely do so.

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