Andrew Luck Back at Practice, Seemingly Healthy, But Questions Remain for Colts
The Indianapolis Colts received some encouraging news on Thursday, as starting quarterback Andrew Luck was back at practice–having missed the prior day’s practice with a listed ‘right shoulder/elbow injury’.
Apparently, Luck was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice in the portion open to the media per the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer.
While Luck has been listed all season on the injury report with a ‘right shoulder’ injury and has been continuously rested on a week-to-week basis, it begs the question of whether the injury is a long-term issue or simply routine maintenance and a way for the Colts to conveniently rest him by listing him on the injury report.
Team owner Jim Irsay seems to indicate that nothing significant is actually wrong with Luck’s right throwing shoulder.
However, the fact that the issue is even being addressed could be something in itself.
Whatever the case, the Colts could be hard-pressed protecting Luck and preventing him from further injury and soreness this weekend, as the offensive line could be missing two starters Denzelle Good (concussion) and Joe Reitz (back)–having already lost starting left guard Jack Mewhort to a season-ending knee injury last weekend.
Thus, the team could be starting backups Jonotthan Harrison at left guard, rookie Joe Haeg at right guard, and another rookie Le’Raven Clark at right tackle, which doesn’t seem like a recipe for success against a ferocious Minnesota Vikings pass rush that ranks 3rd in the league in most sacks with 35.0 sacks on the season.
Some fans have advocated resting Luck for the remainder of the season given his minor injuries already and the offensive line’s struggles in pass protection–with seemingly very little to actually play for now besides pride (barring a Christmas miracle).
However, it seems highly unlikely given Luck’s competitive spirit, that Irsay didn’t make him the highest paid player in NFL history to stand on the sideline, and that it would be a pretty strong indictment on the front office and coaching staff that the team can’t even risk starting Luck given how poor the pass protection could be.
Still, Luck is no doubt a long-term investment for the franchise (and now a costly one at that), and the team doesn’t want to risk subjecting him to unnecessary risk or injury–meaning there’s a fine line here Sunday that shouldn’t be crossed with the playoffs seemingly out of reach.