Rehab specialist won’t be surprised if Andrew Luck is ready for camp
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – To an untrained eye, the fact Andrew Luck’s rehabilitation from January shoulder surgery has yet to include the NFL’s $140 million quarterback throwing a football is cause for concern.
Will the Indianapolis Colts’ most indispensable player be ready for the start of training camp July 29? More important, will Luck be under center for the Sept. 10 season opener against the Los Angeles Rams?
The dire possibilities aside, to a trained eye Luck’s methodical, non-throwing regimen seems to be in line with the nature of the injury and the subsequent rehab.
It’s possible Luck will be ready for the start of camp and every reason to believe he’ll for the season opener, according to Jamey Gordon, a rehab specialist with St. Vincent Sports Performance. A lingering issue, though, might be whether he has fully regained the zip on his fastball and the accuracy and timing with his receivers.
Gordon has no direct knowledge of the severity of Luck’s injury, which occurred Sept. 27, 2015 against the Tennessee Titans. Owner Jim Irsay told CBS4 in March his prized quarterback suffered a partially-torn labrum in his right shoulder. There was no damage to Luck’s right biceps.
The normal rehab time for such an injury is in the 6-month range, according to Gordon.
“The more they have to fix it, the longer you have to wait to put that stress back on (the shoulder),’’ he said. “The whole process usually takes 3-to-6 months to get back to throwing. There’s somewhere between 6-to-8 weeks where you don’t rotate much. Then you gradually start to get range of motion back so they can rotate the shoulder.
“Then you’re in that 4-month range depending on how fast they progress through that. That’s when you can gradually start into a throwing progression.’’
General manager Chris Ballard revealed in late April – roughly three months after the surgery – Luck was starting “to get good motion in his arm.’’
From the very start, the Colts have made it clear Luck wouldn’t take part in any of their on-field work during the offseason. That ends with next week’s three-day mandatory minicamp. After next Thursday’s session, players are off until reporting July 29 for the start of camp.
Luck’s participation during the organized team activities (OTAs), which have been open once a week to the media, primarily has been limited to counseling teammates. He also has gone through “ghost’’ drills where he’s worked with receivers and running backs on routes without throwing a football.
Coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week there was no timetable for when Luck would begin throwing.
Gordon said it’s entirely possible Luck’s shoulder has healed to the point he already could have been cleared to throw.
“Right now he doesn’t even need to throw a ton,’’ he said. “Late July, you’re going to need to throw a lot. He could be able to throw a lot now, but he doesn’t need to, so he might not be.
“He’s probably doing a lot of throwing motions, but may not be throwing a football yet or might just now be starting to throw. And I’m sure he doesn’t want to go out there in the public eye and not throw a football very far or not look good doing it.’’
Gordon has no doubt Luck is immersed in a rigorous rehab.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got to training camp and we’re like, ‘Holy crap, he looks really good,’’’ he said. “He could probably start to throw in earnest July 15 knowing he doesn’t have to throw until (early) September.’’
In March, Irsay was unable to offer a timetable for when his prized QB would be able to begin throwing.
“It’s hard to pin that down for sure,’’ he said. “I would say that certainly he should be pretty close to being ready and really throwing it around pretty damn well once training camp comes.
“Once training camp comes and we get into preseason, I totally would expect he would have his regular preseason where he plays some here, there. Plays a good bit in the third preseason game, into the third quarter like we’ve done, and shut it down for the fourth one.
“Once we get rolling around late preseason and getting into the regular season, he’s going to be feeling great. Being able to prepare and practice at just a whole different level will be awesome for him and us.’’