The Colts know what it’s like to play a season without Andrew Luck at quarterback. The odds are increasing that it could happen again in 2019.
The uncertainty regarding Andrew Luck’s health must feel like deja vu for fans in Indianapolis. This time it’s his calf, not his shoulder that seems to have the Colts searching for answers. The time is fast approaching when Indianapolis officials should start to press the panic button about the status of their franchise quarterback.
It’s no surprise that the franchise isn’t going to risk exposing Luck to injury during the team’s joint practices with the Browns this week. Sending a relatively immobile quarterback out to play against Myles Garrett would be a very poor decision by Frank Reich and company. The downside to Luck sitting out practice on Wednesday and Thursday means it’s very unlikely he’ll play in the team’s preseason game against Cleveland this weekend.
The more worrying detail about Luck’s health for Colts fans is the fact that he’s already undergone three separate MRIs in an attempt to establish a firm diagnosis on his calf injury. There’s no way for Indianapolis officials to spin it in a positive light. The fact medical officials are still actively searching for a specific diagnosis means they can’t be executing a specific treatment plan. Clearly, Luck’s rehabilitation is spinning its wheels more than chugging forward at this juncture in the offseason.
That needs to change quickly if the Colts expect Luck to be ready to play when Week 1 arrives. Typically, NFL franchises like to give their starters significant playing time in the third preseason game before dialing things back in the preseason finale. Luck will need to get back to practice early next week if he wants to join his teammates on the field against the Bears on Aug. 24.
Getting him back into the flow of practice soon seems highly unlikely. After all, Luck has only practiced three times since injuring his calf all the way back in April. The absence of a clear-cut diagnosis and treatment plan makes it almost impossible to believe he’ll experience a sudden uptick in his rehabilitation process.
Colts fans have every right to question whether or not the team is being forthcoming with information about Luck’s status. The team badly mismanaged public relations about Luck’s shoulder injury two years ago. They continually insisted it was a minor malady and he ended up missing an entire season. There’s no way for fans or league observers to know if the Colts are repeating that mistake in 2019.
The only silver lining from the team’s perspective is that they do possess a competent backup in the form of Jacoby Brissett. He’s not going to lead the team to a deep playoff run if Luck misses the entire season, but he can keep the team afloat if Luck needs a few weeks of regular season action to get back into game shape. That certainly doesn’t represent an ideal scenario for the Colts, but Brissett is capable of running their offense at a reasonably high level for several weeks if called upon.
Things with Luck haven’t progressed poorly enough to send Colts fans into panic just yet, but we’re perilously close to that outcome. If they don’t see more of their franchise quarterback on the field soon, he’ll almost certainly miss a portion of the regular season. That could derail Indianapolis’ playoff dreams before the season even begins.