Nelson will miss his first game since entering the NFL as the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft Sunday at the Miami Dolphins because of a high right ankle sprain, coach Frank Reich said Friday. Nelson suffered the injury in the first half of the Colts' Week 3 loss at Tennessee.
Losing Nelson, an All-Pro in each of his first three seasons, is a significant blow to an already struggling offensive line for the Colts. His 75.5% run-block rate is first among NFL guards since entering the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Nelson's 95% pass-block win rate is third among NFL guards in that same time span.
Chris Reed is expected to start at left guard for the Colts against the Dolphins. The Colts have given up eight sacks and 31 quarterback hits through the first three weeks of the season.
"An elite leader, not just an elite player," Reich said about Nelson. "We'll pick up the energy."
The winless Colts (0-3) will go to Miami missing more than just Nelson. The team also already ruled out starting right tackle Braden Smith (foot/thumb), pass-rusher Kwity Paye (hamstring), cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) and safety Khari Willis (ankle/groin).
The Colts haven't started a season 0-4 since 2011.