Colts say Andrew Luck just has a ‘sore shoulder,’ but list him questionable for Chargers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There are a few things we know regarding Andrew Luck.

He has a sore right shoulder.

He was a full participant in Friday’s practice after not practicing Wednesday and being limited Thursday.

Even though he’s listed questionable on the NFL’s status report – by definition that means there’s a 50-50 chance a player will play; there no longer is a “probable’’ designation – the team expects him to be under center Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts entertain the San Diego Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium.

After that, ambiguity clouds the discussion of the team’s most indispensable player and the highest-paid player in NFL history.

On more than one occasion Friday, coach Chuck Pagano stressed Luck is dealing with soreness in his right shoulder. There was no elaboration.

“He’s got a sore shoulder and we’re taking care of it,’’ he said.

At issue, though, is whether the soreness is residual from last season – Luck missed two early starts with injuries to his right shoulder and ribs – or a new injury.

Luck’s health has been one of the main talking points since the season began. Consider he’s been listed on the injury/participation report for five of the nine practices: limited four times, did not practice once.

Pagano mentioned two weeks ago the team has a “maintenance’’ regimen in place for Luck. But there didn’t seem to be one during training camp when, according to general manager Ryan Grigson, Luck threw “a zillion balls.’’

The flashpoint was Luck not practicing Wednesday.

The reason, according to Luck, was soreness incurred during last Sunday’s loss at Denver. He was sacked five times and hit on another 11 occasions.

“It was a physical game like any football game,’’ Luck said Wednesday. “The training staff and coaches decided it was best if I didn’t go out . . . and just worked in the training room and didn’t make it out on the field.’’

During his press conference prior to Wednesday’s practice, Pagano mentioned a list of players who either would be limited that day or wouldn’t practice at all. He didn’t mention Luck.

Pagano was asked if something occurred after his presser to change Luck’s status.

“No.’’

So, you knew Luck wasn’t going to practice?

“He was sore, OK? Physical game and we decided to rest him.’’

Pagano was asked if the maintenance approach from week 1 has changed considering Luck was held out of Wednesday’s practice.

“I think everybody’s trying to read too much into this,’’ Pagano said.

It was mentioned the topic of discussion is Andrew Luck, who signed an extension in June that will pay him nearly $140 million through 2021.

“I gotcha,’’ Pagano said. “We’re going to manage him the way we manage all our players and try to make sure we get them to Sunday as healthy as possible.’’

The Broncos game, he added “was a physical game, just like he told you. I’m not going to tell you any different. He’s got a sore shoulder.’’

Medical matters: Four players have been ruled out of Sunday’s game – cornerbacks Darius Butler (hamstring) and Patrick Robinson (concussion), wide receiver Donte Moncrief (shoulder) and guard Denzelle Good (back). Robinson encountered a “hiccup’’ while going through the league’s concussion protocol, according to Pagano.

The team is hopeful cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle) and defensive end Henry Anderson (knee) make their first appearance of the season.

On the Friday status report, Luck, Davis, safeties Clayton Geathers (foot) and T.J. Green (knee), wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (knee), linebacker Trent Cole (back) and center Ryan Kelly (shoulder) are questionable for the game.

Pagano said Hilton was fine and was held out of Friday’s practice as a precaution.

Anderson ready: Anderson stopped short of confirming he’ll play for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury Nov. 8 against Denver, but his eagerness was evident. Besides, he’s not listed on the week-ending status report.

“I’m ready to get the first series over because I’m going to be very, very nervous,’’ said Anderson, the 2015 third-round pick. “But after the first couple of plays, you get that adrenalin going.

“It’s like riding a bicycle. Once you kind of get a few reps, it all comes back to you pretty quick. I definitely won’t be in mid-season form, but I’m hoping it comes back quick.’’

Vinatieri streaking: At the risk of jinxing Adam Vinatieri, it’s worth noting the NFL’s oldest player once again in on an impressive streak.

He’s converted 29 consecutive field goals. That’s not only the league’s longest active streak, it’s the longest by a wide margin. Next in line: Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, at 12 straight.

“Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t,’’ Vinatieri said, shrugging off his streak. “Right now I’m happy they’re going through.’’

While the streak is noteworthy, it’s simply an extension of an efficient run being enjoyed by Vinatieri. Remember, he’s 43 and in his 21st season.

Since missing a 34-yard attempt against Kansas City in game 15 of the 2013 season, he’s knocked down 65-of-68. That’s a blistering 95.6 percent. An errant 46-yarder in the ’14 season finale at Tennessee snapped a streak of 35 consecutive field goals.

Need more? Vinatieri’s current streak isn’t based on chip-shots. Of his 29 field goals, 11 have been from at least 47 yards out, including six 50-plus-yarders. His four field goals this year: 50, 40, 48 and 52.

“I’ve been earning them, that’s for sure,’’ Vinatieri said.

That he’s enjoying such success in the twilight of his career is a matter of coming to terms with his trade.

“I think I’ve finally figured out you don’t have to do any abnormal stuff,’’ Vinatieri said. “I know what my range is and as long as we’re within my range, just kick the ball normal. You don’t have to try to hit it harder or higher or dig a little deeper or anything like that.

“I don’t know what else to tell you. Why does the old guy go out on the golf course and just put it down the fairway and he scores good? Because he’s figured it out. Just do you job.’’