Starting defensive tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu was carted off the first practice of 2009, tearing an achilles tendon without being under contact. Kemoeatu, who played in 14 games and the Cardinals playoff game, had knee issues late in the season, but was in good enough shape
The team was already thin at defensive tackle, and lacks many options:
Darwin Walker is still available, and he has experience with the team from last year. But he wasn't active every game, has some durability issues, and with the coaching/scheme changes, much of the familiarity has expired. Kindal Moorehead is a free agent after a year with the Falcons, but local media sources suggest Moorehead is going to have back surgery and won't be able to play this year.
Larry Tripplett has experience with Ron Meeks. Brian Young was a starter with the Saints until recently. Other veterans like John Thornton lack the run stopping ability needed. The team may end up looking to 3-4 teams for players with nose tackle experience, if the team wants to continue to play any odd-gap 4-3 (with one nose tackle and one under-tackle).
Internally, the team has rookie Marlon Favorite of LSU and 2008 6th round pick Nick Hayden in the queue. Hayden (310) and Favorite (317) are the two larger DTs in our scheme, splitting first team duties in the aftermath; 340 lb Lonnie Williams was fourth string in camp before the injury. Hayden has two games' experience, both of which he struggled in - the other two have never been rostered for an NFL game.
Rookie Corvey Irvin may end up moving over, but he fits better in the Damione Lewis role. Overall, the Colts' history under new Panthers coordinator Ron Meeks suggests smaller defensive linemen, so the team may not seek a space-eater anyway, but the team needs to have at least one experienced run-defending option on the roster soon.