As the Indianapolis Colts prepare to rematch the Tennessee Titans this Sunday, they'll be without arguably the most important piece of their top-ranked defense. The team announced Wednesday that it has placed All-Pro defensive lineman DeForest Buckner on the COVID-19 reserve list, jeopardizing his availability for Week 12's AFC South showdown.
Buckner, who took a season-high 92 percent of Indy's defensive snaps in Week 11, has been an integral part of a unit that's surrendered fewer yards than all but the Los Angeles Rams in 2020. His move to the COVID list indicates he's either tested positive for the virus or come into contact with an infection, however, meaning he may be forced to sit out Sunday's game against Tennessee.
That could spell serious trouble for a Colts front up against one of the NFL's toughest runners in Derrick Henry, who had 103 yards on the ground in the Titans' last meeting with Indy. In 10 games this season, Buckner has totaled 41 tackles, 16 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, serving as the do-it-all centerpiece of the team's defensive line.
In the event the former San Francisco 49ers starter is sidelined against the Titans, who are looking to retake the AFC West lead after falling to the Colts earlier this month, Indy would likely call upon reserve linemen Tyquan Lewis and Taylor Stallworth to step up opposite Grover Stewart on the interior.