Colts’ Andrew Luck returns to practice
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Andrew Luck returned to practice Thursday.
More important, he’s expected to be under center Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts face a must-win situation against the San Diego Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Luck missed Wednesday’s practice due to soreness in his right shoulder, and was a limited participant Thursday. Wednesday, he reassured the media he “absolutely’’ would play against the Chargers.
Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski offered additional assurance.
“He’ll be ready for the game, I have no doubt,’’ he said prior to Thursday’s practice.
However, Chudzinski conceded this isn’t an ideal situation as the Colts look to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2011. And we all know how that season ended.
“You’d love guys to be out there for the full week, and that goes for any position,’’ Chudzinski said. “But that’s the way it is and you have to be able to adjust in this league.’’
The reason for concern regarding Luck is understandable. He missed two games early in the season with injuries to that same right shoulder and his ribs. He suffered a season-ending lacerated kidney Nov. 8 against Denver.
The alarms began to ring when Luck was limited in two practices prior to the season opener against Detroit and another last week prior to the trip to Denver. Then he was held out of Wednesday’s practice. Luck attributed his absence to soreness in his right shoulder that occurred in the Broncos game.
Rookie center Ryan Kelly did not practice Thursday due to a shoulder injury. He wasn’t listed on Wednesday’s injury/participation report.
It’s worth noting Kelly missed practice time during training camp with a strained left shoulder.
Also, right guard Denzelle Good missed a second straight practice with a back injury. If he’s unable to play against the Chargers, either Jon Harrison or rookie Joe Haeg will step in.
Help for Reitz:
Before putting the Denver game to rest, it’s worth revisiting the game-changing sack/strip/fumble/touchdown created by Von Miller. On the play, right tackle Joe Reitz found himself blocking Miller, arguably the NFL’s best pass-rush threat, one-on-one.
That’s not how that play was drawn up, according to Chudzinski. Without pointing out the culprit, he indicated someone messed up.
“We always have a protection plan for any game and players that we need to pay significant attention to,’’ he said. “We had a couple of things on that particular play where we were supposed to get help (for Reitz). It didn’t work out.
“He’s a great player. He’s going to make some plays during the course of the game, but we always have a protection plan for those kind of guys. What we had for that particular play wasn’t good enough.’’