Earlier in the season when Andrew Luck was dealing with a shoulder injury, we called it "Luck Watch" because of how interested everyone was in the quarterback's status for the following game. After going away for a while with the most recent injury because of the longer-term nature of it, I think it's safe to say that Luck Watch is officially back.
That's what will happen when the team has lost back-to-back games by 35 points each and is heading into what is by far their biggest game of the 2015 season. The Colts desperately need their franchise quarterback back on the field as soon as possible, and not too long ago owner Jim Irsay told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport that he believed Luck would be able to play in week 15 against the Texans.
Irsay noted that if Luck didn't return in week 15 then a week 16 return was likely, and that's what CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported yesterday. La Canfora said that the Colts view Luck as "questionable" for this Sunday's game and that a return in week 16 is more likely.
This morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter added to the conversation by saying that, as of last week, the Colts were not optimistic in Luck playing against the Texans.
As of last week, Colts were not optimistic Andrew Luck would be able to play Sunday vs. Houston; doctors will have their say this week.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 14, 2015
Basically, it's sounding likely that Andrew Luck will not be able to play this week but that the hope is that he will be back by the following week. It makes sense, too, when you really stop and think about it, as he hasn't practiced for five weeks since the injury and hasn't yet returned to the field. Will he be able to suddenly return to practice and then play a game just a few days later? Head coach Chuck Pagano said that he didn't know the answer to that last week, but I think the fact that he has been out so long and still hasn't returned to practice isn't a great sign for this Sunday. It's very possible that he might be able to practice this week if things are progressing well, but that doesn't mean he'll be able to be in game shape right away. He has been throwing, but he's still recovering.
This Sunday's game is a massive one for the Colts, as they face the Houston Texans at home. The Texans have never won in Indianapolis and enter the game with a 6-7 record, the same as the Colts. The winner of that game takes over control of the AFC South with just two weeks remaining in the season, while the loser is on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. That's why so many are hoping that Luck will be able to return this week, but the Colts have said all along that they will not rush him back or put him back on the field until he is fully healthy, as they are treating it as a medical issue first and foremost before a football one.