Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury for a couple of weeks, threw in practice on Wednesday but was still listed as limited, and his status for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots is still uncertain.
With that said, Luck thinks he's getting close. "I like to think I'm getting better every day and pretty darn close to where I want to be," Luck said.
"Certainly took the next step. Absolutely," Luck said after practice Wednesday. "Did more and more and felt better and better. I think I'm on track and so, yes, happy with how it responded."
What felt better? "I think I'm throwing better, moving faster, doing everything better and with less restriction if you will," Luck said.
Just the fact that he has been seen by media throwing the football at all is a positive sign, as he hadn't been throwing during the open portion of practice since the injury. So even the fact that he's now ramping up the throwing that he's doing is a good sign, and Luck says that he's getting better when he does throw the ball. That's the goal, so it's good to hear him saying that it's happening.
One thing is clear, however: the Colts aren't just going to throw him back out there if he's still injured. Maybe it'd be different if it was a knee or an ankle injury, but this is a throwing shoulder. It's not simply a matter of whether it's right to put him out there with the injury, but it's also a matter of whether he'd be able to make the throws with the injury. Remember, after the Jaguars game (the first game Luck missed), Pagano mentioned that they didn't think Luck had the arm strength to go out there and play, so they sat him. So the Colts want him to only be back on the field when he's healthy and when he's at a level where he's ready to play.
"I have no idea," Luck said when asked whether he would be able to play at less than 100%. "I'll say this, I know for a fact higher-ups in this building are not going to put anybody out there that's not ready to play at a productive level in the NFL that can't help the team win. So that's sort of the approach I'm taking and I'm not going to worry about the what-ifs or the hypotheticals. No use."
Head coach Chuck Pagano said the same thing earlier in the day. If he's ready and he can help us and he can play an entire game, because you only get 46 people up, then we'll have him up," Pagano said, talking generally about Andrew Luck, Jerrell Freeman, and other injured players. "It's no different for anybody else on the team."
Three times on Wednesday, Pagano said this: "If he's ready to go, we'll put him out there." In other words, Pagano is going to consult the doctors and trainers, and then they will evaluate it from a football perspective, and when putting all of those aspects together they will determine what the best course of action is for the quarterback.
So will Andrew Luck be playing on Sunday night? The fact that he's throwing is a good sign, and Luck himself says that he's "pretty darn close" to being where he wants to be. That would all seem to indicate that Luck would indeed play, but we don't know at this point, and the Colts are only going to put him out there if they think he's healthy enough to handle it and could help the team.