Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Actually, you have heard this one before. And you’re about to hear it again.
The Colts are targeting a training-camp return from quarterback Andrew Luck from his shoulder injury.
Last year, the Colts seemed to be resigned to the possibility that Luck may not be ready to participate in training camp as the offseason program concluded. It was regarded as a surprise at the time, and some regarded our effort to read between the lines as #clickbait and/or #fakenews. Obviously, it was neither. (For a change.)
This year, the target continues to be training camp.
“[The] timeline’s good,” Colts G.M. Chris Ballard said during a recent visit to PFT Live. “You know, he’s actually not even throwing a football. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do. He’s got a program specifically laid out that puts his timeline to be back at training camp. He didn’t want to skip a step. I don’t know if he skipped a step last year, but I think he felt the pressure of coming back. Not rushing; I don’t want to say rushing. But, you know, he felt the pressure of coming back. And he couldn’t get back right. This year, whenever he sat down with me in early January he said, ‘Look, I don’t want to skip a step. I want to do this the right way.’ And he’s doing that. He looks the best I’ve seen him. His body’s in great shape. His arm feels really good. He’s just taking it step by step. We’re looking at training camp as our target date right now.”
Plenty of people won’t believe this, given the history of statements from the Colts that have ended up being not believable. Does Ballard have concerns that there’s so much doubt about the veracity of the team’s statements about Luck?
“No, I get it,” Ballard said. “I get it. And I don’t blame the people for asking the questions. That’s why I don’t mind answering it. I mean, it was unfortunate last year. I mean, that was a blow to us. There was never a point that we didn’t expect him back. I think maybe that was being a little too optimistic in our eyes, but we expected him back. I get the questioning. Until Andrew steps off Week One and walks out of that tunnel and starts playing again, we’re still going to answer questions. There’s still going to be doubt. And I get that. That’s why I don’t mind standing up there answering the questions. I don’t mind and I get where the doubt comes from.”
It definitely will keep coming until Luck can play. And play well. And then the question will become whether and when he suffers the next injury that make shelve him for an indefinite period of time.