ANDERSON, Ind. — Colts running back Vick Ballard spent 10 months working his way back from serious injury.
Now he has to do it again.
On Saturday, coach Chuck Pagano confirmed Indianapolis’ worst fear — that Ballard tore his left Achilles’ tendon and will need season-ending surgery.
“It’s heartbreaking for me, man. Vick’s a brother to me,” running back Ahmad Bradshaw said. “I was taking pride in helping him out a whole lot and trying to improve both our games and helping each other, him and Trent (Richardson) also. It’s just heartbreaking for me to see that happen and all I can do is just help him fight through this.”
It’s the second straight year Ballard sustained a freak injury in practice without being touched.
Last September, he tore the ACL in his right knee while making a cut in practice and missed the final 15 games.
RB HUNTER SUFFERS TORN ACL: In Santa Clara, California, 49ers running back Kendall Hunter’s season is over before it began.
The 49ers confirmed Saturday that Hunter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Friday’s practice. Hunter began training camp as the No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore.
Hunter’s knee buckled awkwardly as he tried to make a move during a non-contact drill. He was able to walk off the field on his own before an MRI confirmed the tear.
Hunter’s injury leaves LaMichael James, rookie Carlos Hyde, rehabbing Marcus Lattimore and Jewel Hampton as the most likely candidates to fill the void behind Gore in San Francisco’s power running game.
Hunter had spelled Gore more than anybody the past three years.
NELSON GETS FOUR-YEAR EXTENSION: In Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Packers signed receiver Jordy Nelson to a contract extension, securing their top player at a position that has had several high-profile departures in recent years.
Green Bay announced the deal Saturday after the first practice of training camp. Terms of the contract were not announced by the team, but NFL.com reported it was a four-year, $39 million deal with an $11.5 million signing bonus.
Nelson was a second-round pick in 2008 who posted career-highs of 85 catches and 1,314 yards last season. He has developed into one of the top receivers in the league with his ability to make sideline catches.
TROUBLED LB McCLAIN RETURNS: In Oxnard, California, Rolando McClain was back on the practice field with the Cowboys a day after the linebacker’s disorderly conduct conviction in an Alabama courtroom.
McClain said Saturday he was ready to resume his career after the former top 10 pick by Oakland retired and quit twice in Baltimore. The Ravens traded him to Dallas earlier this month.
McClain, 25, was sentenced to 18 days in jail on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama. He appealed the conviction.
McClain said he stopped playing football to try to be a better father to his young sons.
He said he realized his family life wasn’t totally in order shortly after returning to the Ravens in May.