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Indianapolis Colts’ Shaquille Leonard is on track for his first pain-free season since his rookie year.

Indianapolis – The 2022 season could be Colts All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard’s first season with a healthy left ankle.

Leonard, who practiced this week for the first time since last season, said he was pain-free for the first time since his 2018 rookie season following recent surgery to correct a nerve problem that was causing pain in his lower body.

Leonard corrected his record on Thursday after Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday that Leonard had been feeling uncomfortable since 2019.

“They said ’19? I would say ’18,” Leonard said. “Thinking about Week 4 against Houston in 2018, I rolled my ankle, went to Week 5 against the Patriots and came back against the Jets because I was feeling like I am now. It feels good, but it’s still a process. I’m not saying I’m ready now. I’m still trying to figure things out.

Leonard underwent ankle surgery before the 2021 season, but was severely hampered by pain that persisted throughout the season. I even did Leonard’s agility and speed were visibly affected, but he was still named a First Team All-Pro for the third time and led his NFL with eight forced fumbles. Surgery in 2021 addressed some of his ankle issues, but nerve issues continued to cause him pain and weren’t diagnosed until this summer.

Along the way, Leonard learned to get hurt.

“Pain is temporary, but pride is eternal,” he said. “If you can go, go. That’s my way of thinking. Even if you’re hurt, if you’re not hurting the team, I think you can be there.”

However, with Leonard’s prolonged recovery from recent surgery left him on the sidelines, he struggled to cope.

“Football is my happy place,” he said. “Football is my comfort zone. It’s what I love to do. I love to compete.”

Leonard didn’t commit to play in the Sept. 11 season opener against the Houston Texans. But whenever he returns, the thought of him being healthy for the first time in years is intriguing.

“I hope Shaquille is healthy this season and can plant and reap like he used to,” he said. , getting more vivid from my break, just being inside [throwing] more windows. ”

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