Colts’ Andrew Luck discusses shoulder surgery for first time
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Enough was enough. Surgery, not extended rehab, was required to address a balky right shoulder that Andrew Luck confirmed he first injured in week 3 of the 2015 season.
“It was my decision,’’ Luck said Monday in his first media access since undergoing surgery in January to repair a partially-torn labrum in his right shoulder. “I never felt like anybody else was trying to make the decision for me. I made this decision with what I felt like was the best information I could find. This wasn’t an off-the-cuff thing.
“I have no regrets about going and getting surgery. Obviously there is always the uncertainty like anything, but I fully trust when the doctors say I’m 100 percent, I’ll be 100 percent.’’
The prevailing and unanswered question: When might that be?
The Colts began their nine-week offseason program Monday, and no one is offering any prognosis when Luck will be cleared to begin throwing. There’s every chance that won’t be until sometime in June or July.
The Colts report to training camp in late July and open their preseason schedule Aug. 13 against Detroit.
Luck wouldn’t speculate on when his rehab might include any level of throwing.
“Timeline-wise or ‘I need to be this by this stage,’ I’m not going to worry about it,’’ he said. “I have full trust in the guys helping me out.
“When they feel like I’m ready, I’ll be ready. Yeah, I want to play, but I’m not going to worry about it.’’
His hesitancy to look ahead aside, Luck expects to play a full season in ’17.
“Yes, absolutely,’’ he said. “That’s the goal. That’s the expectation.’’
Normally reluctant to discuss injury-related details, Luck shared specifics of what has been two injury-impacted seasons. As many had speculated, he confirmed he first injured his right shoulder against the Tennessee Titans Sept. 27, 2015.
That game, by the way, reinforced Luck’s tenacity and moxie. Despite suffering the injury at some point during the game – he was sacked three times and hit on another occasion – he led the Colts from a 27-14 fourth-quarter deficit to a 35-33 victory. Over the game’s final 12 minutes, Luck completed 11-of-13 passes for 144 yards and touchdowns to Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief.
It was after his 35-yard TD to Dorsett that Luck’s discomfort was most evident. He winced noticeably when backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck gave him a congratulatory pat on the chest.
Luck would miss the next two games against Jacksonville and Houston with the injury before returning against New England. His 2015 season ended when he suffered a lacerated kidney Nov. 8 against Denver, but the shoulder remained a concern.
“We sort of sat down after that year and felt like rehab was the way to go, and I think that was the absolute correct decision,’’ he said. “We did some awesome things (in ’16).’’
Although the Colts endured a second straight 8-8 record and missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997-98, Luck authored one of his best seasons. He passed for 4,240 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and set career bests with a 63.4 completion percentage and 7.8 yards per attempt.
It was hardly an uneventful fifth season, though. Owner Jim Irsay confirmed during the team’s October trip to London that Luck aggravated the shoulder injury Sept. 18 at Denver when he attempted to tackle Denver’s Aqib Talib following an interception.
Of the 48 practices during the season, Luck was a full participant only 24 times. He missed five practices entirely as he dealt with a concussion and injuries to his right shoulder, right elbow, right thumb and left ankle.
“There was a precise rehab plan that I went through last offseason that got me to the point I could really play good football,’’ Luck said. “Then certain things happen in games you cannot control and sort of re-aggravations . . . there were a couple of times during the year where I was getting hit in an awkward way and it wouldn’t feel great. It would be a taxing effort for that next week to go through that and be productive.
“(We) decided the end of the year (surgery) was the best way moving forward. I have no regrets on either of those decisions.’’
Until he’s able to actually play quarterback from a physical standpoint, Luck will focus on the ancillary demands of the position. That includes reassessing the 2016 season, looking ahead to the upcoming season and getting acquainted with new teammates.
“There’s a plan that involves rehab, involves lifting, there’s running,’’ he said. “There’s certain things that I can do with the group, certain things that I cannot. I do the best I can within that plan.’’
“I’m not going to be able to throw, I’m not going to be able to take snaps with the guys and run and handoff and do all that jazz.’’
Until then, Luck can get up to speed with the new faces in the locker room. The Colts have 72 players under contract, and 17 have been added to the team for the first since January.
“It’s been fun getting to know the guys. Obviously haven’t met them all, yet,’’ Luck said. “Got to go around and find them at lunch.’’