The Indianapolis Colts (0-3), who were already thin at defensive tackle entering a Monday Night Football matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) without starting tackle Fili Moala, became much thinner when Eric Foster exited the game with what is currently being described as a "dislocated right ankle."
Foster was rushing Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman on the play when he became trapped between Indianapolis defensive end Tyler Brayton and a Tampa Bay offensive lineman, bending his ankle and foot at a gruesome angle.
Players from both teams immediately took a knee and bowed their heads in silence and prayer. Brayton was visibly upset in the aftermath of the unfortunate play, and Colts star defensive end Dwight Freeney immediately signaled for medical staff to attend to the wounded defensive tackle.
Colts fans will certainly hope Foster rebounds. The hard-working undrafted free agent out of Rutgers has long been one of Indy's better interior pass rushers, and has proven to be a veteran lynchpin on a defensive line that features newcomers Brayton and Jamaal Anderson, as well as rookie Drake Nevis. Though undersized, Foster has played well against the run throughout the 2011 NFL season, playing a featured role in spirited efforts against Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis and Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall.
Indianapolis will likely seek to replace Foster with a combination of Nevis, Antonio Johnson and heavier defensive ends playing inside on passing downs—likely Anderson or Brayton. This should boost Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount's second half fantasy football stock, as the Colts' interior defensive line is now out two featured players in Foster and Moala.
Perhaps the most difficult element to replace will be Foster's heart, a trait on full display as he exited the field on a cart beating his chest and attempting to rally the troops amidst a painful exit. The scene was one that transcended competition or rivalry, and surely there is not a Colt, Buccaneer nor general NFL fan that does not want to see Foster recover and suit up again for Indianapolis in 2012.