Last season was an incredibly rough one for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, as he dealt with various injuries that kept him out of nine games. Owner Jim Irsay has publicly said that Luck is healthy and ready to go, but what if that's not entirely the case?
It sounds like Luck's kidney injury is fully healed, but he also dealt with shoulder and rib injuries last year. A recent report from Bleacher Report's Jason Cole suggests that the Colts are concerned about the long-term health of Luck's shoulder. Here's what Cole said:
Even as owner Jim Irsay continues to talk about the fact that he wants to give Andrew Luck a mega-deal on a new contract extension, there's concern within the Colts organization about the condition of Luck's shoulder, which kept him out of games at the end of last season and ultimately cost him a chance to return. Luck has been rehabbing all offseason at Stanford University and in the San Francisco bay area to try and make sure that the shoulder is in as good of shape as possible. In addition, the Colts tried to send him to a specialist during January to try and make sure that that shoulder was completely on the mend and was going to return to health absolutely. However, this is a long-term concern for the Colts about his shoulder and whether it's going to come back completely healthy at this point in time.
Now, there are some important notes to make regarding this report. Firstly, Jason Cole doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to the Colts, and most of the reports that we've covered from him wind up not being true (which is why we don't cover a ton of them). So I'd absolutely take this report with a grain of salt and as nothing more than a rumor, until we hear from more credible outlets. At the same time, however, we're mentioning it because it is a pretty major story if it's true, so it's at least worth noting and having on the radar. Secondly, keep in mind that the Colts and Luck want to reach a long-term contract extension this offseason, and we saw last year how leaks were used in the Chuck Pagano/Ryan Grigson saga. It is entirely possible that this could be nothing more than the team putting this out there to try to get Luck on a slightly cheaper deal.
At this point, I wouldn't put a ton of stock into this rumor and would only note it and move on. But it is worth mentioning, as it's incredibly important that Andrew Luck is healthy moving forward. We saw last year what injuries could do to his play, and so the hope is that next season he'll be back healthy and ready to go. At this point, that's still my expectation and I expect Luck's shoulder to be fine when the Colts report to training camp in July. But Jason Cole reports that the Colts are concerned about Luck's long-term health, which is at least something to monitor moving forward. If it's true, however, it's a major deal for the Colts, as it would mean their franchise quarterback has lingering injury concerns.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said at the NFL Combine that Luck should be ready to go when OTAs roll around for the Colts, while owner Jim Irsay has publicly said that Luck is healthy and would have been able to play in the playoffs had the Colts made it. In other words, everything we've heard from the Colts suggests that Luck is healthy, and while they don't have a great track record of honesty either with Luck's injury status, I think it's fine at this point to not freak out just yet.
UPDATE: In case you needed any more reason to doubt the report, the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder says he has heard nothing that would indicate concern and that a team source dismissed the notion.
UPDATE: Will Carroll, an expert on sports injuries for FanDuel, wrote a very informative piece on the report. Basically, Carroll said that Luck's shoulder injury - a subluxation, as was reported earlier this year - is one that does give reason for concern moving forward, but it's mainly something that simply needs watching. Carroll also spoke with multiple Colts team sources and they all said that the Colts have no major concerns with Luck's shoulder health. So in other words, it seems Jason Cole's report could be rooted in truth that there is some concern with the nature of the injury, but there's really no reason to freak out other than to realize that it's an injury that needs to be monitored moving forward.