WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Indianapolis Colts are shutting down quarterback Andrew Luck for at least the next two practices, and possibly longer, due to a left calf strain that has bothered him since late April.
“Yeah, you can say setback,” Luck said Tuesday. “I’m not where I want to be. I did not improve feeling-wise, pain-wise. This is something I vowed to myself after going through 2016-17. I would be, one, honest with myself about how I felt pain-wise with things. Two, honest with the people involved. Make sure we took the time about making good decisions going forward. I know I did not improve with the three practices.”
The quarterback said there hasn’t been any talk about him having surgery on his calf.
“The nature of it is a calf strain. I say lower leg because I feel pain in my ankle area. I’ve had images and X-rays and everything, and my Achilles is not at extra risk. There is no tears or swelling or anything that’s indicated,” he said.
Luck practiced on a limited basis in the first two days of training camp before having a “maintenance” day off and practicing again Sunday. Luck was scheduled to practice Tuesday after the team had Monday off, but he instead spent time in the weight room.
“Opening up a little bit, I feel like something is going to yank, something is going to pull,” Luck said when asked where he has pain. “Trying to change direction aggressively, and that’s something you need to do to play football, and I’m not there yet.”
Luck’s injury was described as minor when he originally injured his calf in late April. He didn’t take part in the team’s OTAs or minicamp, but coach Frank Reich said in June that he felt his quarterback could play if they had to play again. Reich still feels that way and Luck said he’s “played in football games with way more pain.” But it’s not the regular season, so Luck and the Colts are in agreement that there’s no need for him to press the issue.
“I trust Andrew and want to listen to him, the feedback,” Reich said. “He knows what he feels, so I think we’re doing the right thing here.”
Reich determined back in the spring that Luck would not play in the preseason opener at Buffalo on Aug. 8. It’s too early to tell, according to Reich, if Luck will play in the second or third preseason games. It wouldn’t be surprising if Luck didn’t take a snap in the preseason, as the Colts have used a cautious approach with him since general manager Chris Ballard was hired in the winter of 2018.
“We want to get him a little bit [of playing time] in the second game, a little in Game 3,” Reich said. “But it’s not absolutely necessary. I think it’s important for his mentality, his psyche, that he just feels ready to go, and we need a good full week of practice, full speed, where he feels confident.”
What Luck endured while dealing with his right shoulder injury is one reason he is in no rush to return. He originally injured his shoulder in Week 3 of the 2015 season. He didn’t have surgery until January 2017. Luck missed the entire 2017 season and he didn’t start throwing a football until the spring of June 2018. He was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year last season after throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns.
“I still have some emotional scars [from 2016 and ’17], and that lives with me still, but I’m trying to use it in a positive way,” said Luck, who added that he expects to play in the Week 1 game at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett will continue to work with the starting unit until Luck returns.