While dealing with the rumor had to be a bit maddening for the Colts, they also might have been chuckling a bit at the same time.
The Indianapolis Star quoted Judy Vinatieri, the kicker's mother, as saying that her son had been told that he had a broken bone in his foot. The Colts denied the accuracy of that statement and said they would have a team doctor issue a more accurate statement on Friday.
The team's foot specialist, Dr. Dave Porter, issued a brief statement saying "We are treating Adam Vinatieri for a calcaneal cuboid ligament sprain. Associated with his ligamentous injury is a small chip off of the cuboid. His healing will be determined by the ligamentous injury more than the cuboid injury."
In simpler terms, Vinatieri was diagnosed with a sprained ligament and a bone chip.
But ColtPower has learned that while the national media frenzy was building over the initial report, Vinatieri was kicking field goals in Indianapolis.
During an interview Saturday evening with the Colts' other kicker, rookie Shane Andrus, he said that Vinatieri had been testing the foot during the week and was doing well with his field goals.
"He did some field goal work two days this week," Andrus said. "And then he did some kickoffs on Friday before the game. He was doing well."
Despite Vinatieri's progress, Andrus was still unsure if the Colts would take the risk of releasing him in their final round of cuts on Saturday. Since he had performed so well with his kickoffs and his field goal accuracy in three preseason games, it seemed logical that the team might opt to hold onto him for at least another week until Vinatieri's foot was more fully tested. But after Friday's workout, Vinatieri and team officials evidently were convinced that he would be ready to resume his full workload before the Colts head to the Meadowlands to face the Giants. Even head coach Tony Dungy reflected that confidence following the game.
"We've targeted Adam for the season opener and we plan on him being ready," Dungy said following the Colts' 20-3 loss against the Bengals.
The final test of the team's confidence came on Saturday as the deadline for roster cuts loomed. With little to lose by keeping Andrus around for another week, the team chose to release him instead.
With that decision made, the controversy surrounding Vinatieri's playing status and the health of his foot should come to an abrupt halt on Sunday.