Colts: Gonzalez looks forward as season ends
Somewhere in the vast expanse of their 56th street complex sits a machine that has no earthly business being in a football environment.

No one outside the small circle of pass catchers knows where it is, but for those privy to practice sessions, they know it exists.

"He and Austin Collie have gone in together and bought this little contraption," said Colts head coach Jim Caldwell of this new piece of equipment that joins the pads and tackling sleds on the practice fields.

The "He" who the coach mentions is Anthony Gonzalez, and it comes with a wrinkle.

"It actually shoots tennis balls," said Caldwell. "They work every day on the different, the speed of the ball coming out, the different angles and et cetera."

Read: Colts' Gonzalez Placed On IR

They catch one hand, two hands, so on and so forth, challenge each other with bags to catch while the ball is coming at them at different angles."

That's not going to help the lineman, or the quarterback, or the kickers, or many other positions on the gridiron. But what it can do for the receivers-who make a living off of catching a much larger football-is invaluable.

As fate would have it, this machine's purpose is that of its principal purchaser.

"Too many people are focusing on what I can't do," said Gonzalez, whose strained ligaments in his right knee have finally forced him onto the Colts' injured reserve. "I'm focusing on what I can do. There are still things that can be done and can be done very well."

That wouldn't be running, which has been difficult ever since he went down without contact in the season opener against Jacksonville on September 13th. He was carried off the sun and shadow drenched field by Colts personnel, and as it turns out, would not return in uniform again in 2009.

Constant setbacks in rehabilitation turned a 2-to-6 week rehabilitation into months. A comeback seemed on the horizon around mid-season, but again the knee flared up. This Monday another hope for Gonzalez, who did some light workouts according to Caldwell, but problems later on forced the Colts to shut the receiver down for good.

Read: Vinatieri Hopes To Return To Colts Lineup

"This is been the most disappointing season for me personally, but that being said, its obviously exciting to be around when everybody is playing so well and we have the record that we do with the situation were in," said Gonzalez of watching from the sidelines. "Obviously it would be a lot better to be out there but that's not in the cards for me this year."

What is for now, according to the receiver-who came into the season as the replacement for Colts legend Marvin Harrison-is more rehabilitation to prepare for a comeback in 2010. Gonzalez said he doesn't expect to have surgery again and is insistent that he must return better than he was when he caught 57 for 664 yards and four touchdowns in 2008.

"I can't afford to be a step off and that's kinda why I'm taking the approach I am. I'm not gonna focus on what I can't do, that's not gonna help me, not one bit," said Gonzalez of his rehab. "If I become great at the things I can do right now and then once running comes back into the fold and cutting and all that, then will cross that bridge too."

Until then he'll continue to offer tutelage to the younger receivers, including Collie, who has stepped into his role and caught 56 passes for 567 yards and seven touchdowns, along with second year pass catcher Pierre Garcon.

Read: Colts Defenders Weigh In On Playing Vs. Resting

"The thing about the young guys is there pretty darn good , I don't know that I could help them much, but certainly if they have questions, I'll be here to answer them," said Gonzalez of the younger players.

When they don't, expect this receiver to do all that he can.

"There is nothing wrong with my hands," said Gonzalez. "I can stand outside an catch a million footballs,"

Or tennis balls, if the situation should dictate.