The Indianapolis Colts' defense have learned to play without perennial All-Pro safety Bob Sanders, but losing defensive end Dwight Freeney for the Super Bowl may be too much for the team to overcome.
Freeney, who has a torn ligament in his right ankle and has been unable to practice this week, hopes to still play in Sunday's Super Bowl.
"Hopefully, towards the end of the week it starts to get better," Freeney said at Tuesday's media day in Miami. "The decision will come later on in the week. It's kind of early now."
Freeney told ESPN that it's "very discouraging" not to be able to practice before playing the New Orleans Saints in the league title game.
"The competitor in me says they'll never stop me from being on the field," he said with a laugh, adding: "There's some pain there definitely with throwing everything at it, all types of techniques to find the best thing to get this thing as good as possible. You name it, I've probably done it."
Freeney, who had 13 sacks during the regular season, hurt his ankle in the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets. He told ESPN that the chances of him practicing the rest of the week are not good.
Freeney is marked as questionable on the Colts' injury report with a sprained right ankle.
Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell has said Freeney has a third-degree, low-ankle sprain and is showing signs of improvement. A third-degree ankle sprain involves a complete tear of an ankle ligament.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.