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Colts debating if Sanders, Diem will play

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 2, 2006) -- The unbeaten Indianapolis Colts could be without two key starters -- Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders and right tackle Ryan Diem -- in a key Sunday night game at New England.

Both are listed as questionable, along with 15 other Colts players. Defensive tackle Montae Reagor is the only player on the injury report listed as out.

Sanders has not played since Week 2 after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in September. Although he practiced, coach Tony Dungy said he would wait to see whether Sanders could practice Nov. 3 before making a decision about the Nov. 5 game.

"We'll see how he does tomorrow," Dungy said after practice. "He ran well and did well and if he can come back and put another practice day in tomorrow, I think he'll be ready to go."

Dungy was hopeful last week that Sanders would play after he practiced Nov. 1. But Sanders said his knee was swollen and sore the next day, and Dungy wouldn't risk additional injury.

Without the big-hitting Sanders, the Colts run defense has slid to last in the league. The Colts (7-0) are allowing opponents to rush for nearly 168 yards per game.

Sanders said it has been difficult to sit out the past five games, and that he was feeling better.

"I feel more confident this week than I did last week," he said. "I'm doing good, I'm feeling good, I ran good yesterday and I'm going to see if I can play."

The other big concern is Diem, who has started 66 of the past 71 games for Indy. Rookie Charlie Johnson, who has never started an NFL game, could start if Diem misses the game with an upper arm injury.

Dungy doesn't appear worried.

"We're hoping Ryan can practice tomorrow," he said. "If so, we think he can play. If he can't, we think Charlie will do fine."

The Associated Press News Service

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