Colts’ Sam Ehlinger won’t need surgery after suffering sprained knee

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) laterals the ball to running back Benny LeMay (42) after being tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Jashon Cornell during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

INDIANAPOLIS – Sam Ehlinger’s season isn’t over.

After the Indianapolis Colts feared a worst-case scenario with an injury to the left knee of their rookie quarterback in Friday night’s preseason win at Detroit, medical evaluation revealed a sprain that won’t require season-ending surgery, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Rehab time is expected to be 5-6 weeks.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report Ehlinger’s status.

The sprained knee interrupts Ehlinger’s first season with the Colts, but doesn’t end it if they still consider him a viable No. 3 behind starter Carson Wentz and backup Jacob Eason.

Shortly after the 27-17 win over the Lions, coach Frank Reich said the injury “didn’t look good.’’

Ehlinger suffered the injury late in the second quarter during the only series he led and the Colts’ longest offensive play.

He slipped out of a sack attempt by Kevin Strong, planted and lofted a deep pass to Dezmon Patmon that gained 60 yards. But on his deliverly, Ehlinger was hit by linebacker Charles Harris.

Ehlinger remained in the game and even scrambled for 21 yards a few plays later – it was reduced to 14 yards by a penalty – but was in obvious discomfort as he limped to the bench at the end of the drive.

The sixth-round pick spent training camp vying for backup duties with Eason. He showed flashes, but also suffered inconsistencies.

In three preseason games, Ehlinger completed 21-of-31 passes for 288 yards with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 57.7 passer rating. He also was the team’s third-leading rusher with 55 yards on 11 attempts.

Colts claim tight end

The Colts were awarded tight end Kahale Warring off waivers (from New England.

The 6-2, 252-pounder appeared in seven games last season with Houston and caught three passes for 35 yards. He spent his rookie season in ’19 on the Texans’ injured reserve list. He was their third-round draft pick.

The Colts were one of three teams to claim Warring when Houston waived him last Sunday, but he was awarded to the New England Patriots, who were ahead of the Colts in the waiver order.

The Patriots subsequently waived him a few days later.

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You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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