Who starts at corner with Davis in 2017 is still a mystery nearly a month into free agency.

That year, as the Colts marched to the AFC Championship, Davis was unquestionably one of the top corners in the NFL.

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Davis was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday after resting on Wednesday. It is not known when or how Davis got the ankle injury. But he’s also hearing it from his coaches, who have always preached what a high-caliber Davis means to the entire defense.

His absence only complicates the decision-making process for Indy’s front office with the cut-down deadline looming with Saturday afternoon. Davis had arguably the best training camp of his career and was projected to be one of the defensive stalwarts following Robert Mathis’ retirement. Davis missed the first two games last season with an injured ankle and six games in 2012 with a knee injury.

Vontae Davis, who suffered a “significant” groin injury in the Colts’ third preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, participated in practice on Wednesday for the first time since that Aug. 26 matchup. Head coach Chuck Pagano said Davis, who was labeled as “limited” on Wednesday will slowly be worked back into the mix.

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This time around, especially, hasn’t been easy for Davis, who, according to head coach Chuck Pagano, was having his best training camp in years when he suffered a groin injury in the team’s third preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Davis played 21 snaps in Saturday’s game. He finished second on the team with seven total tackles, including a tackle for a loss of three yards on a pass play from quarterback Landry Jones to wide receiver Martavis Bryant with just less than 13 minutes to go in the second quarter.

“You’ve got to have physical corner play and both of those guys have those traits,” Monachino says of Davis and Robinson. “They have a tendency, both of them, at times to go a little bit up and down and go in nfl Colts jerseys and out of each of those, but both have dominant traits in coverage. Both these guys can play man, both can play zone, both can drive and break on the ball and both have excellent ball skills.

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This side of Davis is not something the public has seen too much in his five previous seasons with the Colts. Unlike most No. 1 cornerbacks, Davis is much quieter in front of a camera. But we heard a louder Davis this spring, as he enters a contract year at the age of 29. A more vocal Davis is something the Colts need with all the turnover that has gone on throughout their defensive unit.

Nike Colts #21 Vontae Davis Royal Blue Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey
Nike Colts #21 Vontae Davis Royal Blue Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

If you are Chuck Pagano, that’s what you want. Two of your best players letting the rest of the team know the level of competition needed this time of year. It was nothing malicious between Hilton and Davis. Just two competitors going at it. Davis wants to get back to the Pro Bowl in a contract year. Hilton wants to silence any remaining doubters on him being known as a true elite, elite receiver in this league.

This is the second straight year that Davis opened the season with an injury. He missed the first two games of the 2016 season with a foot injury. Davis’ return was big enough that veteran running back Frank Gore went over to Davis during a media scrum earlier in the week and brought out plenty of laughs when he started interviewing the cornerback.

The alarming number of injuries have put the Colts in a tough position because they have to trim their roster down to 53 players by Saturday afternoon. There aren’t timetables for when the injured players will return, which will impact how the Colts decide to shape their roster. A player such as Luck is expected back sooner than later, so he’ll count toward the 53-man roster. The Colts will have to weigh whether a player should go on injured reserve or hold out hope that he’ll be back on the playing field in the near future.