Anthony Gonzalez may be out longer than the Colts first feared and they appear to have a replacement for him.
It's Hank Baskett.
Indy signed the former Eagles receiver to take Gonzalez' place, and three-time league MVP Peyton Manning hopes he can find his way around the offense fast. The team made the announcement following yesterday's practice.
Coach Jim Caldwell said Goanzalez, a third-year receiver, could miss up to 2 months after spraining ligaments in his right knee during Sunday's 14-12 victory over Jacksonville.
"Hopefully we can catch him up as soon as possible," Manning said of Baskett. "It's a lot of offense to learn in a couple of days but he's a veteran, so he could help us."
The Colts play Miami Monday.
"It's definitely going to be a crash course," Baskett said after practice. "Everybody talked about Philadelphia's offense. That was a lot to learn. But coming in [to Indianapolis] during the season and getting here, there's definitely a lot to learn. Peyton and the guys stayed out there with me to throw a couple routes and just work me in. I'm definitely up to the challenge."
The Eagles released Baskett on Wednesday.
Team president Bill Polian had said Monday that the Colts would only sign a veteran receiver if Gonzalez was expected to miss more than 4 weeks.
Caldwell did not provide any new details about the injury, other than to say: "It could be 2 to between 6 and 8 weeks." Initial reports indicated Gonzalez would not miss more than 6 weeks.
Baskett gives the Colts some intriguing possibilities. At 6-4, 220 pounds, he's bigger than any other Indy receiver.
He spent all three of his previous NFL seasons with the Eagles. But Baskett has just 72 career receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns, and he caught only one pass for 6 yards in Sunday's rout of Carolina.
Losing Gonzalez for an extended period is a big blow to the Colts, who expected their 2007 first-round draft pick to replace Marvin Harrison, the Roman Catholic High product and the franchise's career receiving leader, in the starting lineup this season. Harrison was released in a cost-cutting move in February and remains a free agent.