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Colts now admit that Andrew Luck had a rib injury earlier this year

The Colts have now admitted that Andrew Luck had a rib injury earlier this year, further bringing their injury reports into question.

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this season, when speculation was raging about Andrew Luck possibly playing injured, the quarterback brushed it off and said he didn't expect to be on the injury report.  He was on the injury report that very week.  Chuck Pagano later announced the injury but said he was "supremely confident" that Luck would play.  The quarterback missed the next two games.

Later in the season, FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported that Luck had actually played through multiple fractured ribs.  That led to questions of whether the Colts violated the NFL's injury report guidelines by not disclosing the injury, but general manager Ryan Grigson issued a statement attempting to do damage control by saying that "our injury reports are accurate."

Now this week, the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder reported that Luck was indeed playing through torn rib cartilage earlier this season that affected his play.  And interestingly, the Colts have now admitted that Luck was playing through a rib injury, something that they refused to do earlier in the year.  Colts' COO Pete Ward told Holder that Luck did have an injury to rib cartilage, but again said that the injury reports were accurate because the injury wasn't significant enough to warrant inclusion.  "It never limited him in any way," Ward said.  "Remember, he was dealing with a significant shoulder injury at the time."

It is interesting that this statement came from Ward instead of Grigson (unlike the last one), meaning that the general manager is probably still in hiding this year (he has repeatedly turned down media requests from various outlets throughout the disastrous season).  But regardless, it's also very interesting that the Colts now even admit that Luck had a rib injury, seemingly backtracking some from their earlier position.  And if they're willing to backtrack to this point, who's to say that they're right in saying it didn't need to be on the injury report?

The NFL's injury report policy states:

"All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.

"This policy is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the game."

I would say that an injury to rib cartilage qualifies as "significant" or "noteworthy," particularly considering that Luck is THE key player on the Colts and that the injury was talked about A TON by the media.  The Colts really don't have much of a leg to stand on anymore.  At first, they seemed to strongly imply that Luck wasn't playing with a rib injury, whether they outright said so or not.  Now, though, they have confirmed that Luck was dealing with a rib injury, and considering the fact that he's the franchise player who was struggling, it seems like that should have been on the injury report.  Maybe the Colts learned from this, as now it's common for them to list multiple injuries for a player on the report, but either way, it doesn't mean they were in the right earlier this year.  It doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but the NFL calls it "of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the game."  If that's the case, the league has no choice but to seriously look into the situation and act accordingly in dealing out punishment.  Remember, Ryan Grigson turned the Patriots into the league last year to maintain the integrity of the game.  He probably should live according to those rules, too.