Earlier this morning, we mentioned the report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Colts were still uncertain which quarterback would start on Thursday night against the Texans, but it now seems like they have a pretty good idea.
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport (and confirmed by Schefter), Matt Hasselbeck is expected to start at quarterback for the Colts in place of the still-injured Andrew Luck.
Matt Hasselbeck flew to Houston planning to start for #Colts, source says. Andrew Luck will throw pregame, but Hasselbeck expected to start— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 8, 2015
Here's the thing - Hasselbeck is still sick with an illness that caused him to miss practice on Tuesday and, according to Rapoport, landed him in the hospital earlier this week:
Matt Hasselbeck isn't healthy, either. Thanks to a virus, he ended up in the hospital after last week's game, getting an IV. He's still sick— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 8, 2015
With Andrew Luck dealing with a shoulder injury, Hasselbeck started in place of the Colts' franchise quarterback last week (Hasselbeck's first start since 2012) and completed 30 of 47 passes (63.8%) for 282 yards and a touchdown without turning the football over. He played well enough, and he helped the Colts to a 16-13 overtime win against the Jaguars. Of course, it was a very ugly game that the Colts probably shouldn't have won, but that wasn't all Hasselbeck's fault, as he did everything you could expect from a backup quarterback. And, considering the quarterbacks that the Texans have, Hasselbeck still could be the best one on the field tonight. His illness complicates things, however, as though he'll start, the question of how much the illness is still impacting him remains. The Colts might have to rely on Frank Gore and the run game a lot more tonight than they have.
As for Luck, sitting out this game would give him ten days before the team takes the field again - at home for a Sunday Night Football matchup against the New England Patriots. It sounds like Luck is close but not quite there yet. According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, Luck would play if it was a Sunday game, but the fact that it's a short week makes it tougher. Ultimately, resting Luck is probably the right thing to do rather than subjecting him to that Texans pass rush, though it makes this game a lot harder for the Colts. One thing is for sure: be ready for another ugly football game between the Colts and an AFC South opponent!
UPDATE: Matt Hasselbeck is officially the starter for the Colts tonight, as Andrew Luck is inactive.