It has been some time since the last legitimate update on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s progress from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. As the regular season approaches, the pressure on the team to give fans and the media a better idea of what to expect will continue to mount. There are some important “updates” that fans should know as the preseason moves past the halfway point and regular season practices are only two weeks away.
Before we get started it is important to keep in mind that there is no way for the Colts to know specifically when Luck will be ready — as we have explained before. Recently team owner Jim Irsay joined Chris Ballard and Chuck Pagano in stating the his status is and will remain unclear at this time.
Irsay: Can't say unequivocally that Luck will play in the Sept. 10 opener, but he'll be ready around the start of the season.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 13, 2017
Despite the uncertainty, what we know for sure is that Luck will go through his throwing program to regain arm strength, wait for discomfort to subside, and to allow his arm to regain full range of motion. This process could take four to six weeks, from the start of his throwing program, assuming no setbacks.
We learned from the team definitively that he has been throwing a football on August 14th.
I think this is the week the Colts have targeted all along. In order for Luck to have a reasonable chance to play effectively in Week 1, I believe he needs to — at minimum — be throwing routes to his receivers on the sideline. The Colts could then activate him off of the PUP list prior to the last preseason game, decide whether or not to expose him to contact in team drills in advance of Week 1, and then allow him to go through something resembling his usual week of practice leading to Week 1.
If Luck isn’t cleared for non-contact 7-on-7 drills soon, it’s hard to believe the team will accelerate his rehab process over the last 7-10 days of preseason and put him in live game action in Week 1.
As readers of Stampede Blue will recall, Dr. Bramel spoke with Matt Danely on the Stampede Blue Colts Cast to provide his opinions on Luck’s status and likelihood to start the regular season. If you want to compare his comments weeks ago to those he made on Monday, please take the time to listen to the podcast.
Local reporter Bob Kravitz joined the Rich Eisen show and indicated that he projects Luck to be more likely available for a Week 2 return and that he does not expect Luck to miss considerable time.
While Kravitz is simply guessing here, he is not alone in his beliefs. Former Colts punter Pat McAfee recently suggested that he couldn’t see anyway Luck starts the season opener against the Rams.
From everything I’ve seen, there’s no way it’s possible. I have no idea how he’s going to get out there and play. He hasn’t thrown a ball to anybody. I don’t even know if it’s possible.
Again, McAfee doesn’t suggest that he has any concrete information leading him to his conclusions but both Kravitz and McAfee have opinions that are not far off from Dr. Bramel’s. Unless Luck begins legitimately throwing the football soon, including to his teammates as they’re running routes, the likelihood that he will be ready to start for the season opener in Los Angeles grows less likely.
There could be one glimmer of hope. In response to a Tweet from Dr. David Chao, who shared Dr. Bramel’s opinion on the reasonable expectations for Luck for Week 1, long-time Colts writer Mike Chappell has indicated that he has heard indications that Luck is starting to ramp things up.
Was told by someone who's generally plugged in Luck throwing 30-yard finesse passes last wk. Don't if true. I'm doubting wk 1. Maybe week 3 https://t.co/CzQO33w78s— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) August 21, 2017
If true, Luck could be getting reasonably close to throwing the ball with more velocity and potentially throwing to his receivers. Until it is confirmed by the team or by Luck that these rumors are true — or even more importantly that Luck has started throwing to his receivers — we are left waiting.
For what it’s worth, I tend to lean toward the growing consensus that Luck will not be ready for the regular season opener. I also tend to agree with the consensus that if he does miss time, it won’t be much. The bigger question to follow is, when he does return to the field, how long will it take him to find his groove after missing an entire summer?