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Injury to keep Foles out of Colts finale; Ehlinger to start

Nick Foles #9 of the Indianapolis Colts is injured against the New York Giants during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nick Foles will miss the Indianapolis Colts season finale against Houston because of injured ribs and will be replaced by second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Interim coach Jeff Saturday made the announcement Monday.

“Nick’s really sore, the whole side of his body,” Saturday said. “Obviously, he took a massive shot there. Landed on the ball, lot of pain and he’ll be down this week.”

Foles was injured on a sack by rookie linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux late in the first half of Sunday’s 38-10 loss at the New York Giants.

As Foles writhed in pain, Thibodeaux celebrated a few feet away by doing snow angels on the field. Foles eventually walked off the field, was taken to the locker room on a cart and did not return after going 8 of 13 with 81 yards and one interception, which was returned for a score.

Thibodeaux, meanwhile, explained afterward he didn’t realize Foles was injured.

Still, Saturday called the celebration “trash” and said he would talk to his players about reacting differently if it happened again. Foles’ teammates did nothing as the eerie scene played out.

“We protect our own. I’m just going to tread lightly and that’s where I’ll leave it,” Saturday said. “We’ll have a discussion about it.”

The quarterback change will be the fourth for Indy (4-12-1) this season.

Matt Ryan started the first seven games before former coach Frank Reich benched the 37-year-old, turnover-prone veteran in favor of Ehlinger.

The former Texas star started the next two games and lost both before Reich’s firing.

When Saturday took over in early November, he handed the reins back to Ryan, who made five more starts though he never looked completely recovered from a throwing shoulder injury.

That prompted Saturday to install Foles, an 11-year veteran, as the starter last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. But after being sacked a career-high seven times in his first start in exactly one year, Foles was injured Sunday and will now be replaced by Ehlinger.

“Sam’s going to be our guy. I was happy with the way he played yesterday,” Saturday said. “He didn’t do everything perfect, but his energy was good, and he worked the ball down the field. We pulled off at the end to protect him for this week. So it will be Sam this week with Matt backing up.”

The 33-year-old Foles was the Super Bowl MVP following the 2017 season when he helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to their first world championship in the Super Bowl era.

Foles and Ehlinger also attended the same Texas high school as Drew Brees, Austin Westlake. Brees graduated from the school in 1997, Foles in 2007 and Ehlinger in 2017.