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Matt Hasselbeck: "If necessary, I will be ready to go" on Sunday vs. Jaguars

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The Colts expect Andrew Luck to play on Sunday, but backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is preparing in case his number is called. "If necessary, I will be ready to go," he said today.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes in Indianapolis are on the status of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and, more specifically, on his injured throwing shoulder.  And with just one more day of practice left this week before Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Luck has yet to be a full participant this week.

For their part, the Colts absolutely expect Luck to play on Sunday.  Head coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday that he has "supreme confidence" that his star quarterback will play, while Luck said yesterday that, "I fully expect to be out there."  Furthermore, backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck - who knows Luck as well as anybody on the team - said today that, "I expect Andrew to play."

Hasselbeck, however, is preparing as the starter this week.  With Luck limited (the Colts won't disclose specifics on what "limited" means with Luck), and not doing much throwing, Hasselbeck has assumed the role of number one quarterback for many of the reps in practice this week, throwing to T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson.  He's not expecting to start, but he knows he needs to be ready just in case.

"I'm going to prepare the same way that I've always prepared," Hasselbeck told the media today.  "I didn't expect today to be like yesterday.  Basically today was very similar to yesterday in terms of what my day looked like.  So that is different I guess.  I'm going to just do what I always have done.  I'm sure Andrew is going to try to play, and I expect Andrew to play.  At the same time my job is to do what I can behind the scenes and be ready.  The only difference in this case is that I guess the percentages would say that I have a better chance than I normally would.  But other than that, I don't do anything differently and I don't think anybody else will either."

Hasselbeck certainly has experience playing in the NFL.  He is in his 17th season, and he has played in 201 career games, starting 152 of them.  He has completed 60.4% of his passes for 34,948 yards, 203 touchdowns, and 148 interceptions for a passer rating of 82.3.  He is a three-time Pro Bowler and helped lead the Seahawks to an NFC Championship title and a Super Bowl appearance.  Matt Hasselbeck is no stranger to playing in the NFL, and he has done well since coming to Indianapolis in 2013 as a backup.  He's appeared in seven games, completing 37 of 56 passes (66.1%) for 431 yards (7.7 yards per attempt), two touchdowns and one pick for a passer rating of 93.7.  But, then again, he hasn't started a game since the 2012 season while still with the Titans, and he had a rough preseason this year with the Colts.

The Colts brought Hasselbeck back this year not only because he's a mentor and friend to Andrew Luck but also because they have confidence in his ability to step in and play should the worst case scenario happen and Luck miss games.  That's why Hasselbeck is here, and while nobody wants to see him playing on the field this Sunday (unless it's because of a Colts' blowout), he knows that he needs to be ready in case his number is called.

"That's my job," he said.  "I need to do that.  It's one of the things that I'm required to do by my job.  If necessary, I will be ready to go."

Andrew Luck hasn't missed a single snap due to injury in his NFL career, much less a game.  He has started all 57 games in his NFL career, including playoffs, and he's fully expected to start this Sunday as well.  "Andrew is a tough football player," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said today.  "He's tough, and he does a good job of making sure that he's ready to go out and perform for his teammates.  He's a durable guy."

That durability can only go so far, however.  He's dealing with a shoulder injury, and we don't know the extent of that other than that it has caused him to be limited in practice for two straight days - the first time he's even been on the injury report since 2012 and the first time period that he's been limited in practice due to an injury.  That's not a normal occurrence.

The plan is still that Luck will play on Sunday.  Chuck Pagano should give more information on that tomorrow, but the Colts still expect Luck to go out there.  But Matt Hasselbeck is preparing so that he's ready if called upon.  Hopefully that won't happen, but it's always best to be ready just in case, and that's what the Colts' backup quarterback is doing in practice this week.