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Frank Reich ‘not flinching’ as Andrew Luck’s camp absence continues

Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Andrew Luck’s extended absence from training camp isn’t amping up Frank Reich’s anxiety level.

Credit Tony Dungy.

“If I learned anything – and I learned a lot from Tony Dungy, working with him – he literally never flinched,’’ Reich said after the Indianapolis Colts wrapped up Tuesday afternoon’s practice at Grand Park Sports Campus. “Even when our best players got hurt, you would look at him and you would think it was just . . . he was never overly concerned.

“I just think that’s important.’’

Luck has missed seven straight practices and been on the field just three times while dealing with a strained left calf. He clearly won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason opener at Buffalo, and there’s a very good chance he won’t play at all in the preseason.

With the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers looming, Reich refuses to fret. Luck remains confident he’ll be ready for the opener.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but my concern level never kicks in,’’ Reich said. “You can have a genuine care and love for your players, want to do everything you can do to help them get better, but you also understand in this business that when a guy is not ready, it’s just got to be next man up.

“And if you really don’t believe that deep down in, then I just think that shows. And for those reasons, I don’t get concerned.’’

The Colts return to the practice field Saturday morning, and Luck’s availability won’t be determined until Friday.

“Again, we’ll lean, ‘Hey, Andrew, let’s talk this through,’’’ Reich said. “We’ll talk to everybody involved, but ultimately the big piece of the puzzle is, ‘What do you feel? Are you ready to take that next step? And if so, let’s talk about what that would look like and map it out for the next few days.’’

Luck has altered his workout/rehab schedule to include upgraded and “more dynamic series of exercises,’’ Reich said, “that would challenge him even more physically, get more strength, but also where there’s a few movement things involved and dynamic movement stuff.

“All things seem to be going well.’’

Concern with Ishmael

Wide receiver Steve Ishmael sustained a knee injury in Monday’s practice that might threaten his pursuit of a roster spot.

“It’s more than just a little tweak,’’ Reich said. “So we’ll have to get the full evaluation on that.’’

Sheard update

Reich declined to speculate whether Jabaal Sheard might miss the start of the regular season. The veteran defensive end recently underwent a procedure on one of his knees after experiencing swelling following the first practice of camp.

“That’s a possibility,’’ Reich said of Sheard missing the start of the season, “but again, it’s day-to-day. It’s a little too early to project that. We’re optimistic (he’ll be ready). He’s making progress and feeling good.

“Because he had the procedure on the knee, we’ve just got to take it slow and be cautious and make sure we have Jabaal for the long haul.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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