The Facts: Ballard on Sunday took part in his first football practice in over a year, just his third over the past 22 months. He participated in the team’s morning walkthrough, then ran through individual drills during the afternoon practice.
Diehards Line: Ballard is entering the last year of his contract, and as Star staffer Zak Keefer notes, injury-plagued running backs don’t have much value in this league. And his return will take time. He says he’s “close to 100 percent, real close.” Most of all, it will require patience. Rehab, first for the ACL, then an Achilles tendon, has been a long, slow slog. Ballard’s practice reps will be monitored for the coming weeks -- a pitch count of sorts -- as he works his way back into football shape. A healthy Ballard adds significant depth to a Colts running back room that already figures to be a sizable step up from last season’s group. Frank Gore is in town, the assured No. 1 starter. Boom Herron is back, a capable No. 2. Josh Robinson is here, too, the rookie out of Mississippi State who offers promise. Given that depth, however, nobody should get excited about Ballard's presence.