The Colts will play their third straight game with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers as Andrew Luck continues to recover from a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle, and while Hasselbeck is playing well, Luck is still the team's starter whenever he is healthy.
It's possible that his return date could be coming up soon, as we are nearing the end of the two-to-six week timeline the Colts originally gave. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport this morning, Colts owner Jim Irsay told him that he expects Luck back for the team's week 15 matchup with the Houston Texans - though if not, then for sure the next week.
#Colts owner Jim Irsay told me he believes QB Andrew Luck will be back for Week 15 vs. the #Texans. Week 16 vs. #Dolphins at the latest— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 6, 2015
The game against the Texans will be a huge one for both teams, as that game very well could decide the AFC South. If Luck really is healthy, then it would be a huge boost getting him back for that game, but the Colts don't want to rush him back - nor do they need to, considering how Hasselbeck has been playing.
Earlier this week, Luck acknowledged that he has been throwing some and without pain, but both Luck and head coach Chuck Pagano noted that the injury is one that simply needs time to heal. Luck is now four weeks removed from the injury suffered in the win over the Denver Broncos, and if he returns against the Texans it will be after missing four games (and five weeks). The Colts play the Steelers tonight and then have a road game against the Jaguars next week before returning home for the huge matchup against the Texans.
All along, it has seemed likely that Luck would return on either December 20 (Texans) or December 27 (Dolphins), and that seems to be the case - at least according to Jim Irsay. It's important that the Colts not rush him back, but it's also important to get him back before the playoffs so that his first action in two months isn't in the postseason. This would be a nice way to do that, as long as his injury is fully healed. Assuming that it is, it sounds like Luck is nearing the end of his absence and could return in two weeks to face the Texans in a huge AFC South matchup.