Losing rookie Michael Pittman Jr. for indefinite time cuts into Colts’ depth at wideout

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts’ receiving corps, once considered a positional strength, has taken another hit.

Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. is expected to miss several games after undergoing a procedure Sunday evening to address compartment syndrome in his lower right leg. The team’s second-round draft pick experienced a lower leg injury in the win over the New York Jets and it worsened that evening.

He injured his right leg in the first half but returned for the second half. Pittman was on the field for 35 snaps (58%) and had three catches for 26 yards, including two catches after suffering the injury.

Pittman’s injury comes on the heels of Parris Campbell damaging the posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in the week 2 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The team announced Pittman will have a procedure on his left knee soon, but did not rule him out for the remainder of the season.

Frank Reich said Monday that Pittman went home following the 36-7 win over the Jets, but his lower leg worsened.

“It’s a big deal,’’ he said. “Later last night the symptoms started cropping up in a more severe nature and he called the trainer, the trainers called the doctors.’’

Pittman returned to the team complex and it was determined it was necessary to immediately relieve the pressure.

Compartment leg syndrome is a result of a trauma to the lower leg and requires emergency attention. Too much bleeding occurs in a confined area which cuts off circulation and compresses nerves.

“I know it went well,’’ Reich said. “I know we’re very optimistic about him healing and getting back before too long, but the exact time table . . . just not ready to put a number of weeks on that yet.’’

One medical website mentioned a six-week recovery could be expected. That would mean Pittman might not return until mid-November.

In three games, he has displayed the physical style the Colts envisioned when they took him with the 34th overall pick in the April draft. Pittman has nine catches for 93 yards.

With Pittman and Campbell out for the foreseeable future, the depth at wideout will be sorely stressed. The healthy players on the active roster consist of T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Reece Fountain, Ashton Duhlin and rookie Dezmon Patmon.

Fountain made his first NFL catch against the Jets – two receptions for 23 yards – while Dulin has three career catches for 23 yards. Patmon, a sixth-round draft pick, has been inactive in each of the first three games.

With Pittman and Campbell likely headed to the injured reserve list, the Colts could elevate Marcus Johnson to the active roster from the practice squad.

Not down on Blankenship

Reich insisted his confidence in Rodrigo Blankenship hasn’t wavered even though his rookie kicker has missed two of his first eight field-goal attempts and his the uprights with three of his field goal/PAT attempts.

Sunday, Blankenship converted 42- and 41-yard field goals and four PATs, but glanced a 41-yard attempt off the right upright. One of his PATs hit the right post, but ricocheted through. In the opener at Jacksonville, Blankenship banged a 30-yard attempt off the left post.

“Perfection is the standard,’’ Reich said. “You’re never happy with any miss, but you realize he’s making good progress. I feel good about his development.

“We want to make every kick and we’ll keep striving for that.’’

More medical matters

Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin is expected to return to practice this week. He missed the last two games after undergoing a procedure to address an unspecified stomach ailment.

“We’ll evaluate him,’’ Reich said. “Hopefully we can get him going.’’

Also, tight end Trey Burton (calf) and defensive end Sheldon Day (knee) are eligible to come off the injured reserve list.

“We’ll get them back at practice and evaluate how they’re doing and make the roster decisions from there,’’ Reich said.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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