Andrew Luck’s message to concerned Colts’ fans is simple: Don’t sweat it.
He isn’t worried about his throwing shoulder, the Colts owner doesn’t seem to be and those inside the organization continue to believe Luck will soon be back to work.
Five months after undergoing surgery for a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder, Indianapolis’ franchise quarterback said Tuesday he is eager to begin the next step in his recovery — throwing a football.
“It’s not fun to stand on the sidelines, but I understand when you have a surgery you understand what goes into that decision the consequences of that, especially with that you’re going to miss parts of that for rehab,” Luck said as the Colts opened a three-day mandatory minicamp.
“Certainly there’s an urge (to throw), but that’s not part of the protocol,” he added later.
Coach Chuck Pagano and others inside the organization remain hopeful all that changes when training camp opens July 29.
Since the surgery, Luck has been limited primarily to studying tapes, helping teammates understand how he sees plays developing, using the Colts’ virtual reality room and coaching from the sideline.
So far, nobody has provided a timetable for his return. On Tuesday, the league’s highest-paid player again declined to give specifics about what he’s doing or how soon he might be back on the field, though he did acknowledge he could start throwing soon.
Fans, meanwhile, have grown increasingly uneasy about Luck’s lengthy rehab program and fear he may not be ready when players return to the team complex July 29. Luck tried to dismiss any such notion after practice ended.
“They don’t need to have any concerns about their quarterback,” he said. “It’s all fine.”
In time, the Colts insist he will be fine.
At a town hall meeting last week, owner Jim Irsay told fans that Luck’s surgery was “not that complicated,” calling it a “simple” labrum repair.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign was that Luck missed only one game last season, with a concussion, despite having to fight through an injury that first occurred in the first month of the 2015 season. Irsay explained it wasn’t easy for Luck to get ready for games last season.
But Luck doesn’t even look like himself yet.
After losing 10 to 15 pounds following surgery, Luck said Tuesday that he’s regained about 10 to 12 pounds and plans to add a few more before the Colts return to the team complex in six weeks.
And without Luck on the field, things certainly have a different appearance in Indy.
Over the past two months, Scott Tolzien, Stephen Morris and Phillip Walker have taken the snaps.
Walker is an undrafted rookie out of Temple. Morris spent most of the past two seasons on Indy’s practice squad and has not attempted an NFL pass.
Tolzien enters his seventh season with more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes (two).
Still, Pagano and general manager Chris Ballard have said they’re confident with the current depth chart and don’t plan to add a veteran — even with uncertainty swirling around Luck’s expected return date.
“Am I hopeful? Am I praying? Yeah. So is everybody,” Pagano said, referring to the start of training camp. “We all want him out there.”
Luck is doing whatever he can to make sure he’s ready to go.
Aside from a summer trip to clear his head, Luck plans to continue working out over the next six weeks so he can jump right in when the doctors clear him.
“To be honest, I have not thought about it (training camp),'” Luck said. “If I’m ready for it, then great. If I’m not, then that’s the way it is. I’m certainly hopeful for it.”