Stampede Blue has closely followed the progress of franchise quarterback Andrew Luck as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery throughout the entire 2017 off-season, training camp, and preseason. Last weekend the Colts removed Andrew Luck from the Physically Unable to Perform list, which allows him to return to practice as a member of the active 53-man roster.
Despite the first relatively good news for many weeks regarding Luck’s eventual return to the football field, he did not participate in any of the team’s practices leading up to this afternoon’s game against the Rams. His absence indicates that he is still working on building the strength in his shoulder to the point where taking live reps in practice will be beneficial — both to Luck and his receivers.
The frustrating part of this process has been the relative lack of information on where Luck is in his rehabilitation and strength-building program. The team has understandably not been able to give a specific time-frame but without regular updates and meaningful analysis on his progress, fans are left to simply wait until his return to practice pops onto the radar.
Today, Ian Rapaport and Jason LaCanfora both commented on Luck’s progress and suggested that he would likely not return to the field until October. It is important to keep in mind that LaCanfora added nothing to our knowledge of the situation in his story. Earlier in the week, General Manager Chris Ballard made comments that told us everything that both writers are “telling us” in their opportunistically timed updates today.
On Monday, September 4th, Ballard responded to questions regarding Luck’s status.
Is there a timetable for Andrew Luck to start practicing?
No, still no timetable. He’s in the training phase right now. He’s done excellent with his rehab and we’ll still continue to take it week-to-week. He’ll be out this week versus the Rams, but we’ll still take it week-to-week.
First, anytime the phrase week-to-week is thrown out in relation to the health of any Colts player, you can pretty much expect that it will be more than one week. It is usually closer to a month and would put Luck’s return on Week 3 as the absolute earliest you would expect. A Week 4 target would be more realistic — which happens to be in October.
Still, Ballard said other things that foreshadow that the team will be conservative with Lucks’ return and will look to have him practicing every day before throwing him back onto the field for a game.
What kind of a process do you anticipate with him in the coming weeks?
Well, I think the biggest thing is that once we get him incorporated back into practice, which – look this is a big point, we need to think about this with every player – every player needs to practice. They need to be with their teammates; they need to go through practice. Andrew is going to need the same thing. That came into it a lot with the decision of the PUP because when he is back, we want to incorporate him back into practice....
That’s why I’m being a little extra conservative here, to where I want to make sure when we get Andrew back he can practice every day. It’ll be a little bit of a process to get him to that, but we will. We don’t want to jeopardize a little short term here over the long haul. Andrew is a young player still and we’ve got to have a long-term view here of where we’re going.
The team is not approaching Luck’s recovery and return to the field in a hurry. The team is looking long-term and focused on making sure that he can practice every day, instead of resting every week as he has done in recent seasons.
In a story written by NFL Network’s Kevin Patra, he quotes Ian Rapaport as stating that “the Colts and Tolzien are preparing for an extended stay here and it sounds to me like October is a better goal for when we might see Andrew Luck on the field.”
Again, both Rapaport and LaCanfora are not speaking with any new information. Ballard’s comments on Monday made it sound like a return may not be likely until October. These stories are coming out because it is game day and because they’re trying to find things to talk about for the Colts visit to play the Rams. No story is bigger in Indianapolis than the franchise quarterback sitting out and so we get headlines like these that really don’t advance our information beyond what is already available to us.
Stay tuned as we continue tracking Lucks’ development. Don’t be surprised if there is either nothing to report until Luck shows up in pads at practice or until the Colts announce his return on their own. Outside of one of those two things, much of what will be said and written will be noise.