On Sunday, Andrew Luck missed his first NFL game.
The decision to sit Luck because of a shoulder injury came late in the week and somewhat surprisingly, as Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had insisted all week that he was confident Luck would play, even as Luck was listed as questionable for Week 4.
Luck then got scratched, and Matt Hasselbeck started in his place, helping the Colts to a 16-13 win over the Jaguars.
This week, it was assumed Luck would come back – and it seems as if he will – except there’s still some confusion over what his injury actually is.
On Monday, a report from Indy Sports Central said Luck suffered a “subluxation” in his throwing shoulder.
A source close to the situation says at least three out-of-state experts have looked at the injury and given their input. Luck had an MRI a week ago. The injury is also known as a partial separation of the shoulder.
Doctors are concerned about Luck’s labrum, which is hard to read from the MRI with this type of injury. The biggest concerns about Luck at the moment are pain and arm strength.
ESPN’s Dr. Mark Adickes said a subluxation was like a “lesser dislocation” that could cause pain in the labrum and hurt the arm, creating difficulty throwing the ball.
Then, a Colts source told ESPN’s Mike Wells that there was “zero truth” to the report. Luck was still listed as day-to-day, and Pagano told reporters that the latest diagnosis for Luck was “sore shoulder.” It’s worth noting that the Colts themselves didn’t officially deny the report, though it’s possible they didn’t hear about it.
On Tuesday, Luck reportedly took most of the snaps in practice and said he was getting better every day, though he noted his arm strength was not where he would like it to be. Additionally, at the beginning of the week, the Colts cut third-string quarterback Josh Johnson, whom they signed at the beginning of last week.
While things seem to be trending in the right direction, it’s still concerning, particularly because the Colts have a short week and play the Texans on Thursday.
It’s also hard to be fully trusting of Pagano, who insisted through Friday that he thought Luck would play in Week 4 until Luck was ruled out on Saturday. While Luck seems more involved in practice, until he’s officially cleared to play on Thursday, it’s fair to be skeptical of how injured he really is.
There’s also concern whether this is a lingering issue. The Colts and Luck throw the ball frequently, and if Luck has even some damage in his shoulder, it can’t help to put more wear-and-tear on it.