According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is strongly considering season-ending shoulder surgery, which has been considered by some recently obtained medical opinions as his best chance to fully recover:
“Richardson is strongly considering season-ending shoulder surgery on his damaged AC joint, sources say, with a procedure deemed by some as the best option to fully heal his right throwing shoulder,” Rapoport writes. “Richardson and Indianapolis sought four or five opinions on his shoulder, sources say, taking their time before arriving at this conclusion.”
“The good news from Richardson’s MRI is that the labrum in his right shoulder is not torn. The ligaments, sources say, looked better than expected.”
After an encouraging start to his NFL career, the 4th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft suffered a grade 3 sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder last weekend against the Tennessee Titans and did not return. His initial expected recovery timetable was four to eight weeks, but that was just more of an estimation—as no one really knew for sure.
It’s a tough blow for a Colts franchise that after 13 wonderful years of Peyton Manning is seemingly cursed by the football gods now at starting quarterback—having seen former franchise quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly and shockingly retire before 30 because of lingering injuries.
If this really is the end of Richardson’s rookie season, he ends it having completed 50 of 84 passing attempts (59.5%) for 577 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception, as well as having rushed for 136 total rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns on 25 carries during 4 games (4 starts).
It’s unfortunate for Richardson’s initial development as these are NFL starts and meaningful game day snaps that he won’t get back early on, and he could certainly use the experience—with only 13 starts previously at the University of Florida and being 21 years old.
It’s also a hard lesson to be learned that Richardson, like Luck, needs to do a better job of protecting his body out there overall—having already sustained a few injuries to begin his career that have forced him to leave games (*the latest being potentially season-ending).
It also raises the question of how often the Colts will continue to utilize him on as many designed runs. Although let’s face it, one of Richardson’s greatest strengths is his legs.
To never utilize him again on rushing plays would be a clear mistake, as it’s not like the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles stopped running either Cam Newton or Jalen Hurts early on in their careers respectively.
As it stands, Colts backup Gardner Minshew will assume starting duties for the foreseeable future, who’s performed well in relief of Richardson all season. While he doesn’t boast the big arm and dynamic rushing ability of Richardson, he does feature poise, polish, accuracy, and a quick release, and Colts head coach Shane Steichen will again tailor his offense toward Minshew’s best strengths accordingly.