Just when Colts fans were feeling good about a huge win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, it was announced that the team actually suffered a huge loss. Quarterback Andrew Luck was injured on a scramble in the fourth quarter and suffered a lacerated kidney and a partial tear of an abdominal muscle. The Colts say it will not require surgery but will be a two-to-six week recovery.
The Colts said that Luck was injured in the fourth quarter and was sore after the game, but after he was feeling worse on Monday and so was sent for tests. Those tests revealed a laceration in one kidney and a partially torn muscle in his abdomen. The Colts said through a release that Luck "should not require surgery and full recovery from both [injuries] is expected within two to six weeks."
"It's way too early to guess how long Andrew will be out," head coach Chuck Pagano said, via the team release. "We're going to keep listening to the doctors and evaluating his progress on a week by week basis. We've got all the confidence in the world in Matt Hasselbeck and we're not going to put Andrew back out there until he's healed and ready to go."
Due to the nature of the injury, it's hard for the Colts to predict just how long Luck will be out, but for the time being Matt Hasselbeck is the Colts' starting quarterback. Hasselbeck started two games at quarterback for the Colts earlier this year while Luck was dealing with a shoulder injury and helped lead Indy to a 2-0 record, with wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. He completed 48 of 76 passes (63.2%) for 495 yards (6.51 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns without an interception, good for a passer rating of 95.0. He's a capable backup, but the loss of Luck is still one that hurts a lot.
It has been a nightmare season for Luck, as he has dealt with a shoulder injury, reportedly had multiple fractured ribs, and was dealing with a slight ankle injury last week too - and now he suffered a lacerated kidney and a torn abdominal muscle. He has been totally beat up, and his play on the field has reflected that, as he has committed 13 turnovers this year and has struggled. On Sunday, however, he was fantastic, leading the Colts to a victory over the previously undefeated Broncos and their number one defense. Luck completed 21 of 36 passes (55.3%) for 252 yards (7 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns without an interception, good for a passer rating of 98.4. He also made several plays running the football (which is part of what makes him so dangerous), but it was a scramble in the fourth quarter where he was hit hard that injured him. That scramble appeared to be the one on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Luck tucked and ran for a gain of 4 on 2nd and 9. He was hit very hard, but on the very next play he threw a touchdown pass to Ahmad Bradshaw. After the injury, Luck completed 5 of 7 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown, good for a 139.2 passer rating. He's incredibly tough, that's for sure.
If Luck is out just two weeks (which seems like a very optimistic viewpoint considering the injuries), he would only miss one game due to the Colts' bye week. If he is out six weeks, however, he wouldn't return until around week fifteen or sixteen. That's obviously a wide range, but it's likely because of the uncertain nature of the injury. The Colts aren't going to put Luck out there unless he's recovered and healthy, and it's hard to predict exactly when that will be.