Malik Hooker.jpg (copy)

Colts safety Malik Hooker talks with a coach Aug. 14 at Grand Park in Westfield.

INDIANAPOLIS — Malik Hooker is not sitting out another game.

The third-year Indianapolis Colts safety estimates he was better than 90% last week when the decision was made to let him sit out once more and continue to heal his torn meniscus.

On Wednesday, Hooker returned to full practice. A day earlier, he made it clear he plans to be on the field Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

“I’m playing this week,” Hooker said at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “Me, personally, I’d have played last week if they’d allowed me to. But it was just being smart and cautious.”

When Hooker was injured Sept. 22 against the Atlanta Falcons, he was surprised by the severity. He came back into the game in the second half and could run and move around normally.

Stiffness the next day caused him to take another look, and doctors found the torn meniscus. Hooker was initially given a four-to-six-week recovery time.

Last week was just Week 3.

“I was very close,” Hooker said. “ … (But) there’s no point this early in the season in trying to go out there and risking a setback, especially how early I was in the process.”

The performance of the defense in his absence also helped make the decision more palatable.

After a surprising loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 29, the Colts knocked off two of the league’s elite young quarterbacks — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Houston’s Deshaun Watson — in back-to-back games sandwiched around the bye week.

A defensive line bolstered by the return of veteran Jabaal Sheard recorded seven sacks in the two games combined and kept the pressure on the pocket. On Sunday, the defense added a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions.

Cornerback Pierre Desir, playing despite missing the entire week with a hamstring injury, was the first to pick off Watson. Linebacker Darius Leonard followed with a diving interception that clinched the 30-23 victory.

Indianapolis also has gotten strong play from a pair of rookies — safety Khari Willis and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin.

“I feel like that’s where Rock and Khari have done a great job, just being coachable, going out there and taking the leadership that a lot of guys are trying to give, and also they’re giving leadership as well,” Hooker said. “So they’re vets to me. They go out there, they play like vets and, obviously, throughout the week study like it, too. So this is what I expected.”

AWARDS TIME

Jacoby Brissett’s career day against the Texans resulted in his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week award.

The Colts quarterback completed 26 of 39 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. The latter two numbers represented career highs.

Tight end Eric Ebron caught one of the touchdown passes and was eager to celebrate with his good friend.

“Super happy,” Ebron said. “Especially, as a great friend of mine. Like I continue to say, I’m just happy to see him flourish in a role in which he’s been waiting a long time for. So happy he’s taking full advantage of his opportunity.”

INJURY REPORT

It was a relatively clean sheet for the Colts on Wednesday, compared to recent weeks.

Defensive tackle Carl Davis (hamstring), Desir (hamstring) and defensive tackle Grover Stewart (elbow) were the only players who did not practice because of injury. Desir played last week despite missing all three practice days while rehabbing the hamstring.

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was given a day off, and safety Rolan Milligan missed practice for personal reasons.

Wide receiver Pierre Campbell (abdominal), safety Clayton Geathers (rest), defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis (ankle) and cornerback Kenny Moore II (knee) were limited participants.

Hooker and Sheard (foot) practiced in full.

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