There’s not much argument that DE Dwight Freeney is the Indianapolis Colts’ best defensive player. A three-time Pro Bowler and one-time NFL sack king (he led the league with 16 in 2004), he’s been a steadying influence on a team that’s occasionally been criticized for a lack of defensive prowess.
Looking for reasons why Freeney is so good? Go ahead, take your pick. He’s got absolutely lethal speed (has been clocked running a 4.42 second 40-yard dash) for a man his size (6’1, 270lbs). He’s got lightning-quick feet and his spin move is regarded as one of the toughest to contain in the entire NFL. He plays on a defense that is predicated on speed and relentless pursuit of the QB, two things that play directly into his hands.
Unfortunately, though, Freeney might not be able to display any of this in Super Bowl XLIV. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, let us bring you up to speed: Dwight Freeney has a bum right ankle. It’s being described as a third-degree sprain with torn ligaments, the kind of injury that frequently occurs in basketball when one “rolls” the ankle and suffers a high sprain.
Here’s what we know so far:
— Freeney will be held out of practice for this entire week.
— Freeney remains optimistic that he’ll play in the Super Bowl.
— Freeney is spending hours a day in a hyperbaric chamber and using an electrical-stimulation machine on his ankle, even while he’s sleeping.
— If Freeney can’t go, starting DE duties would likely fall to Ervin Baldwin, the former seventh-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears who finished the season with 13 tackles.
The loss of Freeney would be devastating for the Colts. The effect it would have on their other DE, Robert Mathis, is huge. Mathis finished the year with 9.5 sacks, but a lot of his production stemmed from the fact offenses had to compensate for Freeney, leaving Mathis with weaker matchups. If Freeney was out for Sunday, the Saints would likely key on Mathis as the most dangerous player on the Indy defensive line, and that would limit his effectiveness.
Despite the Freeney injury, the NFL betting line for this game hasn’t movedas we approach Sunday’s kickoff. New Orleans is still a six-point underdog, while the Over/Under sits at 57.0 points. To check out the rest of the NFL football prop bets available, head on over to the Sports Interaction online sportsbook today!