We are entering the final four games of the regular season for the Indianapolis Colts, yet we still don't know when quarterback Andrew Luck will return to the field. This Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will mark five weeks since Luck lacerated his kidney and partially tore an abdominal muscle in the team's win over the Broncos, but it's still unknown when he will be back.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said today that he still doesn't know when his quarterback will be back on the field and that he doesn't have an updated timeline there despite recent talk that Luck will return either in week 15 or 16. Pagano didn't rule it out, but he simply didn't suggest any target date for Luck to return. He did say that Luck has been throwing and working out with trainers, but he hasn't practiced yet. When asked whether Luck would be able to return to practice and then play that same week, Pagano said, "I don't know."
Luck also wouldn't offer a target date or a timeline, but he did offer details on his progress. According to the Indianapolis Star's Zak Keefer, Luck said that he is up to 50 throws per day of "short, intermediate, [and] long" distances and that recent scans on his kidney are looking good. According to the Anderson Herald Bulletin's George Bremer, Luck said he is "trending in the right direction."
Of course, Luck didn't practice again today and it would be somewhat of a surprise if he returned to practice at all this week. That would put his status for next Sunday's game against the Houston Texans in serious doubt, as it is very uncertain whether Luck could return to practice for the first time in six weeks and then play in the biggest game of the season that Sunday - and play well, at that. That's a discussion that could be had, but the first step is getting back on the practice field. So far, it has just been work with the trainers for Luck. The good news is that he continues to throw and seems to be progressing well, but the theme last week was that Luck simply needed time, and that still seems true.
So when will Andrew Luck return? We really have no idea yet. We are approaching the end of the 2-6 week timetable initially laid out by the Colts when announcing the injury, and owner Jim Irsay told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport recently that he thinks Luck can be back for the week 15 game against Houston, but that if not, for sure by the week 16 game against the Dolphins. That's the closest to a timetable that we've been given since the injury, so the hope is that Luck is nearing the return to the field. But he still hasn't practiced yet, so we're still in a wait and see mode. Luck is progressing well and throwing, but his return date is still unknown.