The Indianapolis Colts have been close to silent about the status of Andrew Luck this offseason and still haven’t had him on the field in training camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
In January, Luck went under the knife to correct a torn labrum that had been bothering him since the 2015 season. While that is a typically minor injury and Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that he’d be back in time for the regular season, that’s no longer a sure thing.
Luck is currently on the Colts’ PUP (physically unable to perform) list and made an appearance at training camp, but hasn’t taken the field yet yet. He’s likely to come off the PUP list before the regular season starts, but it looks likely that it will be Scott Tolzien to lead the Colts in Week 1.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 9, 2017
With the Colts’ opener less than two weeks ago, the team hasn’t changed its tune.
Chris Ballard before camp: We expect to take Luck off PUP before Week 1.
Chuck Pagano on that today: "I don't foresee anything changing."
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 29, 2017
It’s not a surprise that the Colts are planning on Luck getting pulled from the PUP list before the season starts. If the team didn’t, he’d be ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the season, which is more than enough time for Tolzien to put the team in a big hole.
Luck is back to throwing, but the team’s hesitance to talk about his return and his lack of practice reps with the team suggest his recovery is still a slow process.
“We are where we are with that,” Chuck Pagano said earlier in August, via ESPN. “There’s no timeline. When they say he’s healthy and ready to go, we’ll get him out there. He’s played a lot of football.”
In July, Colts.com revealed Luck was back to throwing and was building strength in his arm, but then the site pumped the brakes a couple weeks later when the quarterback showed up to training camp.
“Do not read much into Andrew Luck being present at the last two Colts’ practices,” Kevin Bowen of Colts.com wrote in an email update, via Pro Football Talk. “Chuck Pagano threw up the red flag on if Luck’s recent practice attendance means his return to participate is definitely coming soon. The Colts enter Week Two of Training Camp with Luck still on the PUP list. Until Saturday’s practice, Luck had been isolated from the media for the bulk of camp.
“Where is Luck in his throwing rehab schedule? Will his return to practice come in the next week or so? Those questions remain unanswered as the team’s regular season opener is less than five weeks away.”
If there’s one good sign about Luck’s recovery, it’s that the team has seemed unfazed by the fact that Tolzien, Stephen Morris, and Phillip Walker are the only options at quarterback. There haven’t been any rumors of interest in free agent quarterbacks or players brought in to visit.
Tolzien started one game in Luck’s place in 2016 and finished the season with one touchdown and two interceptions. His career began with three seasons with the Green Bay Packers where he posted one touchdown and five interceptions.
He’ll get the start for the Colts against the Detroit Lions in the first week of preseason, but the bigger question is whether Tolzien will be the one leading the Colts on Sept. 10 against the Los Angeles Rams. With Luck’s return not appearing to be imminent, Tolzein under center may be a reality longer than the Colts initially hoped.