Colts punter to have cancerous tumor removed

1 month ago 20

11:33 AM ET

Mike WellsESPN Staff Writer

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Previously worked at Indianapolis Star, covering the Indiana Pacers for nine seasons Also covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rigoberto Sanchez will miss an unspecified amount of time to have a cancerous tumor removed, the Colts punter announced on Instagram Monday.

"So grateful to be surrounded by doctors that helped me catch the cancerous tumor before it spread all over my body," Sanchez wrote on Instagram. "... Unfortunately, there are things you can't control in life and this is one of them. No plans or preparations would have gotten me ready for this kind of adversity, but like I told my wife, we can't flinch. ... Makes me sick that I'll have to miss some time playing beside my brothers, but I know they will hold it down."

Colts coach Frank Reich said Sanchez found out about his cancer diagnosis last week, but the punter still wanted to play against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. It was then that concerns about Sanchez's health emerged after he didn't handle his normal kickoff duties in the loss to the Titans. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship kicked off, while Sanchez only punted against the Titans.

Reich was vague when asked about Sanchez's health following the game, only saying that the punter was dealing with a "physical issue."

"We have no doubt he'll overcome this," Reich said Monday. "We're very optimistic about the prognosis and about the timetable to come back. We don't want to put any date on a timetable (to return). And knowing Rigo, God willing, it'll be sooner rather than later. We love Rigo. We're here and supporting him, just praying for a speedy recovery."

Colts general manager Chris Ballard started to the process of finding a replacement for Sanchez last week, according to Reich. Sanchez is averaging 47.2 yards per punt and has landed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line this season. Sanchez's situation is just the latest health issue the Colts (7-4) have had to deal with.

Sanchez's situation is just the latest health issue the Colts (7-4) have had to deal with. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo had an MRI on his knee Monday morning to confirm whether he has an MCL injury after he left the game early in the second quarter Sunday.

An MRI done on starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo confirmed that he suffered a sprained MCL early in the second quarter against the Titans. Reich said it's way too early in the week to determine how much time Castonzo potentially could miss. The Colts have floated the idea of possibly moving starting right tackle Braden Smith or right guard Quenton Nelson to left tackle if Castonzo is forced to miss time.

Starting center Ryan Kelly (neck), linebacker Bobby Okereke (ankle), running back Jonathan Taylor (COVID-19) and defensive linemen DeForest Buckner (COVID-19) and Denico Autry (COVID-19) all missed the game against the Titans.

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