INDIANAPOLIS – Colts rookie running back Vick Ballard will make his first NFL start Sunday against the New York Jets after Donald Brown had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee.
Interim coach Bruce Arians says Brown had surgery Tuesday and shouldn’t miss more than two to three weeks.
Arians did not say which knee Brown injured in the victory over Green Bay, which apparently occurred on a two-point conversion that followed Reggie Wayne’s go-ahead touchdown catch with 35 seconds left in the game. Brown has 60 carries for 239 yards and one TD.
Arians says a handful of other players are questionable for the Jets’ game. That list includes inside linebacker Pat Angerer (fractured foot), cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle) and outside linebacker Robert Mathis (sprained knee).
General manager Phil Emery says the Bears have not discussed a contract extension with coach Lovie Smith, whose contract doesn’t expire until after the 2013 season.
Emery defended Jay Cutler as a franchise quarterback and shrugged off recent sideline incidents with left tackle J’Marcus Webb and offensive coordinator Mike Tice.
He’s a passionate player, Emery said. He has great drive and energy. He’s moving toward excellence. He does care and love his teammates. And he’s a big part of what we’re doing and the positive things that we’re doing.
RG3 at practice
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III (concussion) was cleared to play Sunday against Minnesota.
Around the league
Green Bay running back Cedric Benson (foot) was placed on injured reserve, but designated to return. Brady Quinn is preparing to start his first game since the 2009 season when Kansas City visits Tampa Bay. Houston cut return specialist Trindon Holliday and signed linebacker Barrett Rudd. Carolina center Ryan Kalil (foot) is out for the season. Buffalo defensive end Mark Anderson (knee) is out indefinitely. Jacksonville will be without safety Dwight Lowery (foot) for a few weeks. Jets linebacker Josh Mauga (pectoral muscle) is out for the season. New York signed defensive lineman Daniel Muir. Minnesota receiver Jerome Simpson (back) doesn’t need surgery and the Vikings expect him to play Sunday at Washington.