After sitting out the first four weeks of the season, not to mention the entire offseason, Andrew Luck is set to return to practice for the Colts. That’s according to Indianapolis General Manager Chris Ballard, who said Monday that the quarterback will be eased into training sessions ahead of an eventual return to competition.
“We’ll slowly start working him back into practice this week,’’ Ballard said on a Colts radio show (via Fox 59). “We’ll see how much he gets.
“But we’ve got a plan in place to where we want him to start getting him reps and then, in time as we can get him incorporated back into team work and all that, we’ll get him back on the field.’’
Luck has not practiced with the team since undergoing surgery in January on his throwing shoulder. Through most of the offseason, the Colts expressed little concern about his apparently slow recovery, at least until the later stages of training camp, when it became evident that the three-time Pro Bowler would not be ready to start the season.
Even after the Colts played their final preseason game, owner Jim Irsay refused to rule out the possibility of Luck starting in Week 1. Shortly after that, however, the team signaled its concern by acquiring Jacoby Brissett from the Patriots for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, a former first-round pick.
After Scott Tolzien, who had spent the offseason as Luck’s primary backup, looked shaky as the Week 1 starter, Brissett has started the past three games. New England’s third-round pick in 2016, Brissett has shown solid composure and dangerous running ability, but he has completed less than 60 percent of his passes and accumulated an 80.2 rating while Indianapolis has started 1-3.
The first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Luck completed 63.5 percent of his passes last season for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 96.4 rating in 15 starts. He has been hampered by shoulder issues since early in the 2015 season, and the Colts have been bringing him along slowly in hopes of completely putting that problem behind their $140 million signal-caller.
“Andrew’s doing good, he’s doing really good,’’ Ballard said Monday. “I’ve watched him throw the ball and he’s starting to get his motion back, getting his lower body to start working with his upper body.
“His strength levels are getting back to where they need to be.’’
The earliest Luck could plausibly return to game action for the Colts would be Oct. 16, after two full weeks of practice. It’s more likely that the 28-year-old will first see the field on Oct. 22, in a home game against the Jaguars, or on Oct. 29, at the Bengals.
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