Over the past few days the Indianapolis Colts have doled out some bad news in terms of their defensive availability as well as a handful of others being out for the start of training camp. However, they’ve also gotten some good news in the way of communicating that although Andrew Luck will start training camp on the PUP list, he has also began throwing the ball and will be focusing on what he needs to in order to get back on the field.
I’ve said this in the past, but i’ll say it again. It makes no sense whatsoever for the Colts to throw Luck back into the fire – whether it be camp or otherwise – before he’s completely ready to come back 100 percent. It’s never mattered whether he missed the entire preseason, or even a few games into the regular season. A healthy franchise quarterback who’s expected to be around for the next decade, is head and shoulders more important than a few games in the 2017 season.
The Colts have begun each of the last three seasons 0-2. In 2014 the Colts won 11 games, in 2015 Luck was noticeably struggling early on, missed 9 games and the team still won 8 with Matt Hasselbeck finishing out the season. Of course last season the Colts were legitimately a couple plays away from winning at least two more games (Houston and Detroit), and were inside of two minutes of winning a third at Denver yet only won 8 games last season.
In short, the first few games of the season doesn’t matter much when it comes down to the final tally at the end of the season. And I’m never one to push the hopes to ‘next season’, and I’m not starting now, but this is a rebuild year, and we have no clue what the new-look roster will offer in the way of wins and losses to begin with. If they’re good enough, they’ll be able to rebound from the possibility of a slow start – much worse Colts’ rosters have in recent years that’s for sure.
It’s important that Chris Ballard and the Colts are taking their time and are being smart with Luck’s return to the field. Ballard has stated that he doesn’t want Luck standing around watching practice, they want him continuing his throwing program, getting his strength back as well as his throwing motion. Again, this is smart.
However, Will Brinson of CBS Sports sees it as a ‘disturbing amount of nonchalance’. First, I don’t understand his assertion that Ballard’s comments on Luck aren’t encouraging. Unless you’ve been under a rock since Luck had surgery, it’s been clear that the Colts weren’t expecting him back until, at the very earliest, sometime into camp and possibly the regular season.
Additionally, there’s this from Brinson:
Will, the team literally announced nearly 24 hours before you wrote this that Luck IS indeed in his throwing program. Come on man.
There’s also this from Ballard:
It does take time, it is a process and it was expected. But, the most important part of this statement for me is the clarity of Luck getting his weight back in line. Many have been wondering and worrying about his weight after some pictures showed up with him looing significantly slimmer than most have seen him before.
Something like muscle mass takes time to rebuild. Any time you have an injury to a joint,or large muscle, in which it is unable to be used or perform the natural range of motion with some intensity, that strength dwindles. Think of it as if you were to have a cast on your leg or arm. When it’s taken off, your arm is a sad form of itself until you’re able to fully use it, naturally gaining its strength back.
Luck will return to form soon enough, and he will be back for the regular season if I were to offer an educated guess. But, the approach Ballard and the Colts are taking is best for the team, and Luck’s long term future. There’s a reason Ballard and the Colts aren’t coming off as though there is much to worry about: Because, right now, there’s nothing to worry about. We’ll see if any of that changes in the coming weeks.