The Indianapolis Colts are heading into their biggest game of the season next Sunday when they host the Houston Texans in what might really end up being the AFC South championship. Because of the magnitude of the game and the awfulness of the team in recent weeks, Colts fans are desperately hoping that Andrew Luck could return in time to play in Sunday's game.
Just over a week ago, owner Jim Irsay said that he expected Luck to be able to play in week 15 but that if not for sure in week 16, and more recently CBS' Jason La Canfora said Luck is "questionable" for week 15 while ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Colts were not optimistic in Luck's return for the game.
This afternoon, Schefter expanded upon that to say that there is uncertainty on when or even if Luck will return to the field this year.
Though J. Irsay suggested Andrew Luck could return from lacerated kidney this week, uncertainty exists about when/if he'll return this year.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 14, 2015
Luck was made available to the media on Monday and he said that, while he hopes to return to practice this week, he does not feel 100% yet. "Hopefully, definitely that's the goal," Luck told media today about whether he will practice. He noted that he first needs to be cleared to practice and then would need to be cleared to play, illustrating that it is far from certain that he could play this week. He hopes to return to practice, but that doesn't mean he'll be cleared to play. Luck, however, maintained that he will play this season.
So, in short, we don't really know when Andrew Luck will return, but it's very possible (and at this point I'd say likely) that Luck won't be playing this week against the Texans. Luck still says he will return this year and hopes to practice this week, which is a good sign, but Schefter's report indicates that it's not totally certain.
Further complicating matters is that Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was injured in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars and his status is also currently unknown:
Complicating Colts' QB situation, Matthew Hasselbeck was spotted leaving stadium on Sunday night with his left arm in a sling. Status shaky.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 14, 2015
#Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck is sore today, I'm told, with upper body injuries. Tests ongoing, but belief is no fractures. All soft tissue— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 14, 2015
We've still got a long way to go before it becomes reality, but if Luck isn't able to play on Sunday and Hasselbeck isn't able to play, it would be Charlie Whitehurst making the start for the Colts in their biggest game of the year.