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Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010

Colts sweat on Freeney

Staff writer

MIAMI — Four-time MVP Peyton Manning might have felt a tinge of jealousy when most of the attention at Tuesday's Super Bowl XLIV media day went toward Indianapolis Colts Dwight Freeney, whose status for the game is uncertain because of a torn ligament in his left ankle.

News photo
Dwight Freeney

Freeney is officially listed as questionable for the game, meaning his chances of playing are 50 percent.

"The ankle is pretty much day-to-day," the Pro Bowl defensive end said. "Hopefully toward the end of the week it starts to get better. It still has a little bit of swelling left.

"It's going to be a decision made by our coaching staff come Friday, maybe Saturday, as to how much time I'm actually going to be playing."

Freeney injured his ankle during the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets a week ago. Since then, he hasn't practiced. Whether he can play on Sunday is one of the major concerns for the media, fans and probably for the New Orleans Saints, the Colts' opponents in the NFL title game.

Freeney, the Colts' best pass rusher, should be one of the key factors in trying to slow down a Saints' passing attack led by Drew Brees, who threw for 4,338 yards and 34 touchdowns en route to setting the new NFL record for completion percentage (70.6) this past season. And because Freeney relies on speed rather than size to dominate the offensive blockers, the ankle injury could be a big setback for the Colts defense.

That's why Freeney had the biggest media crowd on Tuesday. "I don't know how Peyton feels," he joked.

While Freeney didn't sound confident about his chances of recovering, the Saints expect he'll be on the field on Sunday.

"We're planning on that he is playing," Brees said. "We feel like they are going to have all of the bullets in their gun and their full arsenal, just like ours. Anytime you play a team in an atmosphere like this, you expect everyone to play."

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