Dallas Clark's season-ending wrist injury will haunt the Colts when they play elite defenses.

The Colts were supposed to use their Week 7 bye to heal up, but instead their injury situation has gone from bad to worse.

Dallas Clark (wrist) is out for the season, Austin Collie (hand surgery) will miss extended time, and according to reports Joseph Addai (shoulder) could be out for a few weeks.

Clark, Collie, and Addai account for 51 percent of the team’s receiving yards and 71 percent of their rushing yards – not an easy fix.

To complicate matters, Addai and Collie’s potential replacements – Donald Brown and Anthony Gonzalez – are both nursing injuries. Brown hasn’t played in three weeks and Gonzalez has been shelved since the opener.

Replacing Clark will be even more difficult. Jacob Tamme will likely fill in, but is undersized (6-3, 236) and unproven (six career catches).

Peyton Manning has prevailed with makeshift weapons before.

A few years ago Kenton Keith came in at running back and gashed the Buccaneers for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This year Blair White has filled in at wide receiver and made some big plays.

The Colts’ offense will benefit from their schedule as they adjust to the injuries. They face Houston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and New England coming out of the bye. All are pretty good teams, but none have overwhelming defenses. The Texans and Patriots actually have two of the league’s worst – ranked 31st and 30th, respectively.

In addition, the bye week should help Indianapolis’ offensive line get healthy and more cohesive. The unit was shaky and banged up to begin the season, but appears to be on the mend. No matter the weapons, if Manning is upright and comfortable in the pocket, he’ll likely make things happen.

However, the Colts injury bug is also affecting the defense.

Strong safeties Bob Sanders and Melvin Bullitt are both out (Bullett for the year and Sanders for the foreseeable future), defensive tackle Antonio Johnson underwent knee surgery this week, the starting linebacking corps has only been in tact for three games thus far, and nickel corner Jacob Lacey has missed the last two games.

Even the special teams unit is under duress. Returner Devin Moore is out for the season and his replacement – Kenny Moore – was cut after a pair of fumbles. Punter Pat McAfee is suspended for a game after taking a drunken, shirtless swim in the Broad Ripple Canal leading to his arrest.

Ask the Colts and they’ll all tell you the same thing – next man up. It’s worked in the past, but the theory will certainly be put to the test as the 2010 season grinds on.

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