INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor, eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list as of Monday, will resume practicing with the team Wednesday and could play as soon as Sunday's game against the Titans, coach Shane Steichen said.
Taylor has been on the reserve-PUP list since Week 1, prohibiting him from playing or practicing with the Colts for the first four weeks of the season. Taylor can practice and be evaluated by the Colts for up to 21 days before he is required to be activated to the 53-man roster.
Steichen said he had a productive conversation with Taylor, who has been in a bitter dispute with the team over the lack of a contract extension and had previously demanded a trade.
"He's super excited to be back with his teammates, and I look forward to having him," Steichen said.
When asked whether there was a chance Taylor could play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, Steichen said, "Could be, yes."
Taylor hasn't played or practiced with the Colts since Dec. 17, when he reinjured his right ankle and was placed on injured reserve. He was sidelined during the Colts' offseason program and complained of lingering pain in his ankle when he reported to training camp in July.
Taylor has been working out with the team's rehab staff ever since, and those workouts have intensified of late.
"He's in good shape," Steichen said. "Conditioning-wise, obviously putting on the pads and practicing is a different deal. I know it's been a long time since he's played football, so we'll see how practice goes this week, see where he is at physically from putting the pads on, and we'll go from there."
The significant level of acrimony between the parties in recent months -- Taylor had previously been asked to leave the facility after his morning rehab sessions and has not attended any of the team's home or road games -- cast doubt on whether things could be rectified. But Steichen expressed optimism on that front.
"The conversations I've had with him have been great through this whole deal," Steichen said. "I'll keep those private, but he's in a good spot, obviously. I had a conversation with him the other day, talked to him today. He's excited to get back with his teammates."
Taylor never rescinded his trade request and is still miffed at the team's resistance to extending his contract, which expires after the current season. Whether the door remains open to either outcome -- a new deal or a trade -- remains unclear. Taylor has not addressed reporters since June, when he first indicated he was unhappy about his contract status.
But the Colts appear to be operating like a team that expects the 2021 rushing leader to back in the lineup soon, sharing the backfield with promising rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.
"He's been working his tail off with the rehab process," Steichen said of Taylor. "He's feeling good." He added, "We'll see where he's at. If he feels good, then we'll rotate him in."
Steichen, in his first season with the Colts, has never had Taylor in the lineup under his direction. But he has watched film of Taylor and knows what he's potentially getting with his return.
"He's a big-time player," Steichen said. "He is explosive. He can hit the home runs when he sees the hole. That explosive breakaway speed, great vision, power -- obviously one of the top backs in this league, without a doubt."