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Colts Punter Sanchez Diagnosed with Cancer

Rigoberto Sanchez

On Monday, Indianapolis Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez announced that he will undergo surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

Sanchez will miss an undetermined amount of time, but it’s unlikely he will return to the field this season.

Doctors found the cancerous tumor at some point last week, but Sanchez decided to take the field against the Tennessee Titans. Even while participating in that game, it became clear that something was ailing the punter.

Sanchez typically handles the Colts’ kickoff duties, but Rodrigo Blankenship took over that part of the game on Sunday. Sanchez was able to punt, but questions about his health immediately started to surface.

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Head coach Frank Reich was asked to discuss the status of his punter after the game but didn’t disclose any real information. This allowed Sanchez to make the announcement himself as he did so on his Instagram page on Monday.

The Colts started looking for a new punter last week, but the team has not officially added anyone to the active roster as of Tuesday. Sanchez was having an excellent season for the Colts, averaging 47.2 yards per punt, with half his punts inside the 20.

Sanchez was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and has been their primary punter since then. The punter played his college ball at the University of Hawaii and is originally from Chico, California.

Neither the team nor Sanchez have provided any other updates to this story since it broke on Monday, and it’s unclear where this tumor is located. The Colts are hopeful that the surgery will remove the tumor and allow their punter to be back on the field.

Other Issues Plaguing Colts

Sanchez’s Monday announcement further complicated things for the Colts, as the team is dealing with several other health and injury concerns. The entire NFL is being hit hard by COVID-19, but the Colts are without several notable players at this time.

The Colts were without five starters in their Week 12 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and it’s unclear when these players will return to the lineup. The offense was without center Ryan Kelly and running back Jonathan Taylor.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts were playing without defensive linemen DeForest Buckner and Denico Autry, along with linebacker Bobby Okereke. Taylor, Buckner, and Autry were all placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and they must pass league protocols to get back on the field.

Left tackle Anthony Castonzo was forced to leave the game on Sunday in the second quarter with an injury to his left knee. MRI results revealed an MCL sprain, and Castonzo will be out of the lineup moving forward, but it’s not exactly clear how much time he will miss.

Indianapolis is now 7-4 on the season, and the Colts are currently in second place in the AFC South. The Colts are set to take on the 5-7 Houston Texans on Sunday in a Week 13 matchup.

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