INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts will have a few new faces in the starting defensive lineup when they arrive Sunday at Detroit's Ford Field.
Defensive tackle Fili Moala suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week's 20-13 home-field win over Buffalo. Moala was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Strong safety Tom Zbikowski, meanwhile, will remain in Indianapolis as he nurses a right knee injury that he also incurred against the Bills a week ago.
Ricardo Mathews will take over for Moala but will be spelled by Clifton Geathers and Lawrence Guy. A recent addition, defensive tackle Kellen Heard (6-6, 339), may also get his first playing time with the Colts.
The duo of Sergio Brown and Joe Lefeged will share Zbikowski's duties as the Colts face a powerful Detroit Lions passing attack.
Another change will have veteran cornerback Vontae Davis returning to the starting lineup. Davis, who was acquired in a trade from Miami before the start of the regular season, has been sidelined for the last four games with a knee injury. How long, and how much, Davis plays against Detroit will depend on how his knee feels.
"I don’t know if we can ask him to go out there and play 60 plays in this game. Hopefully by the end of the week, he’ll be able to take that load. But he’s ready to go," interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said earlier this week.
Arians added that the loss of Moala may not be quite as major a setback as it might have been had the injury occurred earlier in the season.
"We’re going to miss Fili, but we didn’t have him for three weeks [this season]. We know how to play without him. It’s not the first time. So plug in the guys that we have and never use it as a crutch or an excuse," he said.