Rob Morris likely out for season

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By John Oehser -

INDIANAPOLIS - Rob Morris likely is out for the season.

Morris, the Colts' starting strong-side linebacker since late last season, sustained a knee injury Sunday in the Colts' victory over the Denver Broncos. He is expected to undergo surgery Tuesday and likely will miss the rest of the season, Colts President Bill Polian said Monday.

"Unfortunately . . . I think that's probably it for him this year," Polian said on his weekly radio show Monday evening.

Morris, an eight-year NFL veteran, had 13 tackles - 12 solos - in three games this season.

The Colts' first-round selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, Morris started at middle linebacker from 2001-2004, then played the 2005 season as a key backup and special teams player.

He began the 2006 season in the same role, starting two games at middle linebacker before moving to strong-side linebacker for the final three games of the season.

His move outside coincided with an improvement late last season of the Colts' defense. He started throughout the postseason at strong-side backer, and was a key to the team's run to Super Bowl XLI. He made 21 tackles in the playoffs, 17 solos, and had four tackles in the Colts' victory over the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl.

"Everybody feels nothing but gratitude for all the great things he's done for this franchise and we all wish him well," Polian said Monday. "Hopefully, the surgery will be a success and he'll be back ready to go next year. He's as good as it gets.

"One of the great things about my job is I get to be around people like Rob. Unfortunately, most of the general public just hears about the bad guys. They don't hear about the (former Colts wide receiver) Brandon Stokleys and the Rob Morrises and the (current Colts linebacker) Gary Bracketts. It's an honor to be around people like that and to call them teammates.

"Yes, the big stars are the ones who get the headlines, but you win Super Bowls with players like Rob Morris."

Morris was among at least six players injured for the Colts Sunday, with notable others being wide receiver Marvin Harrison (knee), running back Joseph Addai (shoulder), safety Bob Sanders (rib), tight end Ben Utecht (concussion) and returner T.J. Rushing (hamstring).

Utecht likely will miss Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Polian said.

"He's probably doubtful," Polian said. "I'm not sure the doctors are going to release him even late in the week; we'll see how that goes."

Rushing returned to the game after his injury, and Polian said Addai likely could have returned if necessary.

Harrison, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, "told me that he felt like he could have gone back," Polian said, "but the doctors held him out pending getting an MRI where they really get a good picture of it."

"I don't think it's a long-term thing," Polian added. "Marvin didn't think so."

Aside from Morris, Polian said decisions on whether the injured players will play against Tampa Bay likely will be made later in the week.

"Those will all be Wednesday, Thursday, maybe even Friday decisions as we get later in the week - as it was with the offensive linemen last week," Polian said. "But that's the National Football League.

"That's the way it is. You're battling it out each and every week."

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