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Anthony Richardson’s recovery: A pivotal moment for Colts’ future

While the allure of immediate success tempts, the Indianapolis Colts must prioritize the long-term health and potential of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Bob Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Colts fans have gotten a glimpse of the future. Anthony Richardson, with his blend of pocket awareness, arm strength, and athleticism, has shown that he has the tools to be the franchise quarterback the Indianapolis Colts have been seeking since the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck in 2019.

But with the recent news of Richardson’s AC joint injury, that promising future is precariously balanced on a knife’s edge.

It’s undeniable: Richardson’s development benefits enormously from game experience. Every snap taken, every defense read, and every decision made in real-time only hastens his evolution into a legitimate NFL quarterback. Yet, as the adage goes, “short-term gain can lead to long-term pain.” For Richardson, and by extension, the Colts, rushing back onto the field before fully healed could have far-reaching consequences.

At the heart of Richardson’s promise is his arm strength. Even among the elite arms of the NFL, Richardson stands out. His ability to push the ball down the field and fit the ball into tight windows is one of the key elements that made him such a sought-after prospect. Any compromise on this attribute by returning to play prematurely could stifle what makes him special.

The narrative is familiar and fraught with cautionary tales. Young players, eager to prove themselves, return to the field only to be a shadow of their former selves or, worse, aggravate their injuries. The implications are profound for a quarterback, especially one with Richardson’s potential. Each throw, each hit taken, can mean the difference between a storied career and one filled with “what could have been.”

Who better to understand that concept than Colts fans after Andrew Luck’s shortened career?

Furthermore, the current context of the Colts’ season must be considered. Can the team realistically make a deep playoff run? Even if they capture the AFC South division crown, are they equipped to challenge the powerhouses in the AFC? These are the questions the Colts’ leadership must grapple with.

The silver lining? With Gardner Minshew at the helm, the Colts aren’t devoid of hope. While not as explosive as Richardson, Minshew is a capable signal-caller who has proven to be a serviceable passer and game manager. And there’s another upside: if the Colts decide to prioritize Richardson’s recovery and the season doesn’t pan out as hoped, they can further bolster their roster in the upcoming draft.

While the temptation to chase immediate success is alluring, the prudent approach is clear. The priority? A full, uncompromised recovery. Anything less does both Richardson and the Colts a disservice.


While we don’t know the severity of the injury for sure, it is rumored to have been a Grade 3 AC joint injury. Grade 3 AC joint injuries involve complete disruption of the ligaments holding the collarbone (clavicle) to the shoulder blade (scapula). The severity of the injury can affect the recovery timeline.

The treatment approach can vary, but it often involves rest, rehabilitation exercises, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery. The type of treatment can impact the recovery time.

Rehabilitation is a crucial aspect of recovery. Like other athletes, quarterbacks need to regain strength and range of motion in their shoulder joint. The length and intensity of rehabilitation can vary from player to player.

The timeline for a quarterback returning to play can vary widely. Some may return in weeks, while others may require several months of recovery and rehabilitation. The decision to return is typically made by the team’s medical staff and the player’s doctors.