Andrew Luck spoke for the first time in months after being placed on season-ending injured reserve with a setback in his rehab following shoulder surgery. Luck even gave Indianapolis Colts fans a bit of good news in what has been a long, frustrating season.
“I do not think that I need another surgery," Luck said Friday.
It was the most confident statement he made on Friday, even as he looked mentally drained from one of the toughest seasons of his career, pausing several times as he considered how to answer the questions that were being thrown at him. Luck has missed the entire 2017 campaign and now has missed 26 of the Colts’ past 48 games dating back to the 2015 season.
Luck spent the past several weeks in the Netherlands to have treatment on the shoulder, and it was widely questioned why he went overseas to have the work done as opposed to remaining at the Colts facility and working with the team’s medical staff to try to figure out what was going on.
Was there a rift with the team?
“No, no,” he said, “I was not aware of those, I guess, 'rumors.' That’s not true. I’m very, very happy here."
So then was he undergoing a procedure — or receiving treatment — that normally isn’t conducted or approved in the United States? Luck indicated that he went to Holland for rehabilitation, strength training and soft-tissue work with a therapist he has worked with in the past. He said that he didn’t undergo any actual medical procedures or receive any injections there.
"[It had] a lot to do with him,” Luck said. “The Colts have been really supportive. The resources [the therapist] had there that we don't have here … that's why."
Luck was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 2 following a setback in his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery after it appeared he would be able to return to the field in 2017. Instead, the team ended his season and the speculation continued after now three years of medical issues stemming from an injury he originally suffered in the 2015 season.
The Colts are 3-12 entering Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, with Jacoby Brissett taking most of the QB snaps. Head coach Chuck Pagano is squarely on the hot seat with the team missing the postseason three years running now.
But Luck said he was “very optimistic” that returning for the 2018 season is likely. He even added that he plans “on being ready for everything” — including OTAs, training camp and so forth. After the season ends in the coming days, the Colts next will return to the field in April for offseason workouts.
“I don’t see that being in jeopardy at all,” he said.
Should he have had surgery sooner? Luck said he hadn’t thought about it but wasn’t going to entertain the question. He understood why the team placed him on IR, given his setback, and admitted to being frustrated with his disconnect from the Colts — even before he opted to go overseas for more work.
“I don’t feel like I am part of the team right now,” Luck said. “It’s just an odd feeling. So it’s not been fun. It’s not been easy.”
However, Luck said getting away and focusing on his rehab has been a crucial step to his comeback.
“I am doing well and continue to do well, and that’s how I feel today,” Luck said. "The pain has significantly gone down, and that’s why I feel so optimistic about the process.”
As for a timetable to start throwing again, Luck didn’t indicate if there was a firm target date in mind. Pagano earlier said he "had a great conversation with” with Luck and added that “he looks great" but also provided no answers as to when Luck might start a new throwing schedule.
“I’d like to start as soon as I can,” Luck said. “I know that’a a vague answer. That means me feeling physically ready to go.”
The Colts’ immediate future remains murky. Changes will be coming, likely as soon as Black Monday on Jan. 1. There are no guarantees that Luck, even with his optimism, will be ready to go — and that could impact which coaching candidates might be interested in the job, assuming Pagano is let go.
But it was hard not to think that Luck has put a bit of his own depression over the injury aside and turned the page to next season. He believes he’ll be back and ready to regain his past form.
“There was a time, probably a couple of weeks into being away, early December … that was pretty difficult for me to see the positive in things. That was a low point.
“I got through that and saw the positive in things a little more.”