The Colts have been without their franchise quarterback for three games so far this season, but it won't end there. Andrew Luck is currently recovering from a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle that he suffered during the team's win over the Denver Broncos, and he's expected to be out until mid-December.
Due to the uncertain nature of the injury, his return date is equally uncertain, with the Colts initially giving a two-to-six week timeframe. All along it seemed as if it would be the longer end of that spectrum, and if I had to guess, I'd say that Luck's return will likely come around week 15 or 16.
In his first appearance with the media since the injury, Luck made clear that he does intend on playing again this season. "Very confident. Very" Luck said regarding a potential return this season, according to CBS4's Mike Chappell.
"Rest is a huge, huge portion of it from what the doctors and everybody have told me,'' Luck said of his recovery. "That's what you have to do for organs to get healthy.''
The fact that he is dealing with an organ injury rather than some other injury - like the shoulder injury suffered earlier this year, the reported rib injury, or the ankle injury he was listed with - makes his recovery, and therefore his return date, much more complicated. He knows that he can't rush back from a lacerated kidney, and that's the same thing that the Colts said at the time. They knew that it was a medical issue first and foremost and that they weren't going to put Luck out there until he is 100%.
"As athletes, we do know our bodies very well,'' Luck said. "We say we know them better than anybody else. But there are certain things that are non-negotiable . . . an organ healing is non-negotiable. I know this week we've picked it up a little bit, but by no means back on the field running around full speed. I sort of defer to the doctors and really try to take it day-by-day. You don't want to look too far ahead and miss a day, a chance to get better.''
It has been a very rough 2015 season for Luck so far, as he has dealt with numerous injuries and struggled on-the-field as well, completing 55.8% of his passes for 1,881 yards (6.4 yards per attempt), 15 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions for a passer rating of 74.9. He played his best game of the season against the Denver Broncos in week nine, but he was unable to get any sort of momentum going from that game as he was injured in the fourth quarter. He finished the game, playing well at that ("Adrenaline is a very powerful thing," he said today), but he was lost for the forseeable future. That's just the way things have gone this season.
In the meantime, as Luck works to get back and waits for his kidney injury to heal, Matt Hasselbeck is the Colts' starting quarterback in his place and is keeping this team afloat in the playoff race. Whenever Luck is ready to return, he'll take over his starting job again, but the Colts can afford to give him the time that he needs because of their backup plan. When his return will be is uncertain, but Luck remains confident that it will be this season.