INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 28, 2015) – The Indianapolis Colts have relied on a next-man-up approach as their season has been replete with pain and quarterback issues.
But it’s taken on an entirely different tenor with Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Tennessee Titans looming.
Let’s call it Last Man Standing.
The short version:
- Andrew Luck has yet to be cleared for full practice, let alone a game, while on the mend from a lacerated kidney. He’s missed the last six games.
- Matt Hasselbeck is doubtful for the Titans game after suffering a grade-1 AC (shoulder) sprain in Sunday’s win at Miami.
- Charlie Whitehurst was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list after sustaining a grade-2 hamstring strain against the Dolphins.
That leaves coach Chuck Pagano will one healthy quarterback on the active roster: Stephen Morris.
“You hit it on the head,’’ Pagano said. “He’s the only healthy one we have in the building, right?’’
The team had veteran free agent Josh Freeman in for a workout Monday, but Pagano no contract was in place early Monday evening.
Morris was signed off Philadelphia’s practice squad last Thursday, and has two practices under his belt. He entered the NFL in 2014 as an undrafted rookie with Jacksonville after passing for 7,896 yards and 49 touchdowns for the University of Miami.
Freeman, 27, would offer a veteran presence, but hasn’t played since 2013. After being selected by Tampa Bay with the 17th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he has posted a 24-36 record as a starter with 13,724 yards with 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.
Pagano didn’t offer an update on Luck’s status, but added any decision on his return, if he gains medical clearance, would involve himself, Luck, general manager Ryan Grigson and owner Jim Irsay.
“We have to wait and see if that happens,’’ Pagano said. “If that happens, then we’ll cross that bridge.’’
What’s clear is the team has gotten all Hasselbeck has to give. He’s directed the Colts to a 5-3 record while Luck has dealt with shoulder and kidney injuries, and paid a heavy price. Along with the early-season food poisoning, Hasselbeck has suffered shoulder, back, neck, rib and jaw injuries. He was knocked out of the last four games at some point.
“Thank God we had Matt,’’ Pagano said. “Matt did a phenomenal job filling in for Andrew. I can’t say enough great things about Matt Hasselbeck.’’
More medical matters: Along with Whitehurst, the team placed guard Hugh Thornton on the injured reserve list. He’ll need surgery to address an ankle injury.