The good news is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is in no danger of missing Week 1. And the shoulder surgery he had in January went “great,” according to Colts owner Jim Irsay.
But at the annual league meetings in Phoenix, Irsay and coach Chuck Pagano said the team won’t push Luck in his recovery, which could result in him missing all of the team’s offseason workouts and potentially the start of training camp. Irsay doesn’t want Luck dealing with shoulder issues any more.
“We are not going to be rushing him,” Irsay said on the official team website. “We are going to make sure, obviously, that the shoulder has to be ready and the doctors are going to give full approval before he starts putting real reps on it and that sort of thing. This is going to be a huge benefit in the long run. We really feel that he’s going to be completely healed for the season, and he’s going to have a great season.”
Added Pagano: “Andrew’s doing great. He’s in that facility from dawn to dusk, doing what he’s supposed to do from a rehab standpoint. He’s on schedule. There’s really no timeline. We’ll leave it up to the experts. When he’s 100 percent and can start throwing the football around, and the docs give us the go ahead on that, then we’ll proceed accordingly.”
Irsay said Luck battled the shoulder problem all throughout last season. He didn’t miss any games because of his shoulder (he was out in Week 12 against Pittsburgh with a concussion), but his practice reps were limited most of the year.
“I just wish him the best and hope he gets better. I’ll see him when it’s time to play.” Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton
“I don’t think people realized how much he had to work to get ready to play each week,” Irsay said. “He really had to work hard last year, and it was very mentally draining to get ready.”
Luck’s shoulder first became an issue in Week 3 of the 2015 season at Tennessee, and he missed the next two games. He returned for four more games, but then a kidney injury in Week 9 ended his season.
This year, despite the shoulder problem, Luck was still spectacular, and he finished the season with a career-high in completion percentage (63.5) and yards per attempt (7.8). He also passed for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and he ran for 341 yards and two touchdowns.
At the Pro Bowl, Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton said he couldn’t tell anything was wrong with Luck based on his play. Hilton also called Luck “special” and said “he’ll probably go down as one of the greatest to ever play.”
“I just wish him the best and hope he gets better,” Hilton said. “I’ll see him when it’s time to play.”
For the Colts, having Luck ready to play is what matters most, even if he misses all of the offseason workouts. And Irsay said Luck’s shoulder should be better than ever following his procedure.
“Again, the surgery went great,” Irsay said. “The labrum, the bicep (were) pristine. There was no problem there. Things could not have gone better, up to this point, from a medical standpoint. But we are going to be depending on our medical people and the doctors in how we pace him into things.”
The Colts are trying to help Luck improve this season with the addition of free agent receiver Kamar Aiken. He should compete with Phillip Dorsett for the No. 3 job behind Hilton and Donte Moncrief. And tight end Jack Doyle was re-signed as a free agent.
The next step for the Colts is improving their offensive line, which would hopefully result in Luck taking fewer hits, especially to his shoulder. He was tied with Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson for second among quarterback sacks last year with 41, which was one behind Tyrod Taylor for the top spot. And Luck has been sacked at least twice a game on average for the past two seasons.
Pagano thought the offensive line improved as last season went on, and he didn’t seem concerned about the unit heading into this year.
“I look forward to that group moving forward, and they’re only going to continue to get better,” he said.
As for Luck’s Fantasy value, he should once again be considered a No. 1 option and a Top 3 quarterback. He should be drafted after Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and he’s someone to target in Round 4 in the majority of leagues.
Of course, his shoulder has to be 100 percent. And it sounds like that will be the case, even if we don’t see him on the field until training camp.