Michael Conroy/Associated Press
By now, the news about Vick Ballard tearing his Achilles tendon has been made common knowledge. According to Kevin Bowen of Colts.com, Ballard will be placed on the injured reserve list, although it's worth noting that to this point the Colts have not done so.
Regardless, Ballard is likely done for the year and possibly for his career. As far as medical advances have come, Ballard is now coming off of a torn ACL and torn Achilles, missing what is likely two full years of football, which is an eternity in the NFL. It's possible Ballard fights back, and it would be a great story but an unlikely one. It's a heart-wrenching story for Ballard, both of whose injuries came on non-contact drills.
For the Colts, the meaning is complicated. On one hand, Ballard was likely going to be the third back. He was a back who was fairly average as a rookie and was coming off of the aforementioned ACL tear. Realistically, this is not a critical blow.
On the other hand, the Colts' running back corp is now down to Ahmad Bradshaw (coming off of a season-ending injury, chronic foot problems), Trent Richardson (extremely poor 2013 season) and three unproven players (Dan Herron, Chris Rainey, Zurlon Tipton). The Colts did sign RB Davin Meggett to the roster in the wake of Ballard's injury, but he's been through camp several times and is a long shot to seriously compete for a spot.
Even if Ballard wasn't expected to contribute much in 2014, it's a devastating blow to the depth of a position that desperately needs it. Ballard was a coach favorite and a well-rounded back, albeit one with a low ceiling. The pressure is now on Bradshaw to stay healthy and Richardson to produce, so that depth doesn't need to utilized.