The unexpected storyline of week one for the Indianapolis Colts was the surprise appearance of quarterback Andrew Luck on the injury report with a right shoulder issue, something that caused him to be limited on Wednesday and Thursday.
Because there was no prior indication of that, it obviously caused quite a stir. When the team’s franchise quarterback, who missed nine games last year and dealt with a right shoulder injury, suddenly is limited in practice, it’s going to create quite a bit of attention. Chuck Pagano, however, can’t seem to understand that.
“There’s really nothing to elaborate on,” Pagano said today. “Andrew is fine. I’m going to manage this football team and I’ll manage every player accordingly based on past history.”
That history, Pagano (somewhat) confirmed, is related to Luck’s shoulder injury last year. “History. Past history,” Pagano said. “Andrew is fine.”
Yesterday, general manager Ryan Grigson mentioned on the radio that limiting Luck was all simply according to a plan, and Pagano seemed to expand on that a bit today by saying that because of Luck’s injury issues last year, the Colts want to manage him a bit differently than they did in the past and want to be overly cautious with protecting his shoulder. Pagano also said that “I wouldn’t be surprised if I was you” if Luck once again shows up as limited on the injury report next week.
Here’s the thing: I actually think Pagano’s explanation is plausible and believable. Andrew Luck suffered a shoulder injury last year that forced him to miss two games, and the Colts know how important it is to keep their star quarterback healthy. So they’re being cautious with him and trying to protect him in practice, which is smart.
But here’s the craziest part: the Colts just put Luck on the injury report without any warning and now are surprised that fans freaked out? Are they really that naive, or do they just not care? All it would have taken would have been Pagano saying at his Wednesday presser that the Colts would limit Luck for precautionary reasons based on what happened last year. Sure, there might have been some people still worried, but for the most part the issue would have just blown over. Instead, the Colts snuck Luck onto the injury report on Wednesday with no prior warning, and Pagano didn’t meet the media for two days (which is their normal schedule). So now, they had a situation where fans and media didn’t have any information about the situation and simply saw the franchise player, the $140 million quarterback, the guy upon whom the Colts’ entire playoff hopes lie in 2016, listed on the injury report with an injury that he suffered last year and the Colts expected everyone to just not care? Pagano poked fun at it today, waving his arms and sarcastically saying, “The sky is falling! Chicken little! Oh my God!” But there should have been no surprise whatsoever at the reaction, and the Colts could have stopped it rather simply by getting ahead of the situation. But instead, it’s just another chapter in a long saga of the Colts horribly botching an Andrew Luck “injury” situation.
So the good news is that Luck is fine, and I think it really is believable that (for now) it’s just a precautionary thing connected to last season. But if the Colts want fans to stay calm, maybe they shouldn’t be so ignorant next time.