In­jured Luck shoul­ders In­di­anapo­lis’ fans angst

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - JOHN KRYK JoKryk@postmedia.com

See­ing your $140-mil­lion quar­ter­back on the side­lines in gym clothes, phys­i­cally un­able to per­form, is a lousy way to kick off train­ing camp.

But that’s the way it was and the way it’s go­ing to be for a while for the NFL’s In­di­anapo­lis Colts.

An­drew Luck re­vealed over the week­end that after un­der­go­ing undis­closed shoul­der surgery shortly after last sea­son — re­port­edly on a par­tially torn labrum in his right throw­ing shoul­der — he went nearly seven months with­out throw­ing a foot­ball as he re­habbed for up to 10 hours a day, six days a week.

Be­lieve it or not, Luck al­ready is en­ter­ing Year 6 in the NFL. Be­fore last sea­son, he signed a six-year, $140-mil­lion ex­ten­sion with the Colts, who se­lected him first over­all in 2012.

Luck knows some peo­ple are won­der­ing if he’ll ever come close to jus­ti­fy­ing the next-JohnEl­way la­bel that got slapped on him com­ing out of Stan­ford. Be­fore the past two or three sea­sons, ev­ery­one wanted to know if he could get his in­ter­cep­tions un­der con­trol or get enough pro­tec­tion to not be prac­ti­cally killed ev­ery game.

This whole year must be killing him more.

Es­pe­cially so Sun­day, what with train­ing camp un­der­way and thou­sands of con­cerned fans in the stands at Lu­cas Oil Sta­dium. Luck’s most mean­ing­ful phys­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion Sun­day was sign­ing dozens of au­to­graphs af­ter­ward.

When he spoke to re­porters Satur­day morn­ing, his only me­dia ac­cess over the week­end, Luck as­sured Colts fans “there’s no rea­son to freak out.” He will be back. Soon. It’s just that nei­ther he nor Colts doc­tors and train­ers can say ex­actly when.

“I will be bet­ter than I was com­ing into this, I know that,” Luck said of his shoul­der surgery and re­hab. “I don’t know what day it’s go­ing to be. I don’t know what week. But I def­i­nitely will be (back soon).

“I love prac­tice and I would love to be out there for ev­ery prac­tice, ev­ery week. I’m con­fi­dent that when the time is right for me and when I’m able to prac­tise, whenever that is, that I’ll be up to speed and pro­duc­tive enough in games to give this team my best.”

Un­til then, Scott Tolzien is the un­ques­tioned No. 1. Stephen Mor­ris and rookie Phillip Walker have nowhere near the pass­ing ac­cu­racy nor the knowl­edge of the Colts’ of­fence at this stage to rou­tinely make plays, com­plete passes and move the chains as Tolzien can.

Of course, Tolzien can’t do it as pro­fi­ciently or dy­nam­i­cally as the guy on the side­lines.

An­drew Luck

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