Andrew Luck is back! Maybe. Possibly. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)

Think of the Andrew Luck saga like a pendulum that began its descent during the 2016 NFL season, when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said he didn’t think his star quarterback would require surgery on his throwing shoulder. That, of course, ended up happening in January 2017, with Irsay claiming at the time that Luck would be ready for the season that followed. Then Luck missed the team’s summer minicamp, and then-coach Chuck Pagano said there was no timetable for his return. Training camp came and went, and no Luck. (“He’s coming along well,” Irsay said.) Week 1, no Luck. Finally, the nadir: In November, the Colts announced Luck would miss the rest of the season because his shoulder had yet to fully heal.

But since then, the pendulum has been on the upswing, if Luck and the Colts are to be believed. (Why would we ever doubt Luck and the Colts?) Last month, the quarterback himself said he did not need any more surgeries and was working with two notable quarterback coaches to refine his delivery, though he admitted he wasn’t yet actually throwing. And Wednesday at the NFL combine, Colts General Manager Chris Ballard gave the most confident answer yet that Luck will be ready to take the field for the first time since New Year’s Day 2017.

“Do I have any doubt that he’s going to be ready?” Ballard said, per the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer. “No, I don’t.”

Ballard also echoed Luck’s no-more-surgeries prediction.

“We’ve all ruled out surgery; everybody’s ruled out surgery,” Ballard said. “I know there are reports out there. … We’ve all ruled that out. I think it’s just to the point where we make sure — you’ve got to remember now he played for two years banged up, then he had this whole year off — so taking a year where you’re not, every day, working (on) the motion, it takes time to get back.”

Keefer reported that Luck is still in Los Angeles working with quarterback gurus Tom House and Adam Dedeaux but isn’t throwing actual footballs, instead working with “weighted balls designed to strengthen and shape his motion.” Pigskins will come in the spring. Allegedly? Maybe? Probably?

“I’m anticipating that he’s going to be ready to go” for offseason workouts, new Colts Coach Frank Reich said. “I mean, again, we’ll have to determine what level that’ll mean. And there’s no way to predict that. I’m thinking optimistically, but we’ll wait and see.”

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