Andrew Luck as Colts camp opens: ‘I see the light at the end of the tunnel’


Andrew Luck at 2016 Colts camp

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s clear Andrew Luck has maintained an attribute that has served him well during his five-year career as the heartbeat of the Indianapolis Colts.

That would be his elusiveness.

As players filtered into the team complex Saturday for the start of training camp, the most indispensable Colt offered an update on his rehabilitation from January surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Sort of.

Luck is regaining strength in his $140 million right arm/shoulder and entire body.

“Started getting some strength and power and explosivity back,’’ he said, “and that’s very exciting.’’

And after losing approximately 15 pounds post-surgery, he’s “putting weight back on that maybe I didn’t have.’’

Clearly, Luck appeared fit and certainly was upbeat.

He also was clear about his ultimate objective.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel, if you will,’’ Luck said. “The end game is for me to be better than I was before I got injured and I don’t want to put a date on that, in a sense. I think that’s really sort of unfair.

“I would say there is no reason to freak out. I will be better than I was coming into this. I’ll be better coming out of it. I know that. I don’t know what day it’s going to be. I don’t know what week. I don’t know when it’s going to be, but I definitely will be and there’s no reason to freak out.’’

That uncertainly undoubtedly ramps up everyone’s anxiety level.

What’s the timetable for Luck, a three-time Pro Bowler and key to whatever success the Colts are to enjoy moving forward, to move from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and gain medical clearance to actually practice?

Is there a chance he plays in any of the four preseason games?

Most important, does he anticipate being under center for the Sept. 10th regular-season opener in Los Angeles against the Rams?

That’s where Luck wasn’t generous with any specifics.

His offseason rehab finally advanced to where he began throwing last week.

“I started with a tennis ball,’’ Luck said, adding his pre-throwing rehab included regaining mobility and range of motion in his shoulder.

But has he actually been throwing a football? That is, after all, what he does for a living.

“I’m not going to get any more specific than I started with a tennis ball in honor of Wimbledon,’’ he said with smile.

Everything is leading up to Luck regaining his spot in the huddle. He’s been in every meeting this offseason, was a spectator for many of the practices and offered counsel to teammates when appropriate.

But again, when will the quarterback be ready to play quarterback?

The team has steadfastly refused to offer a timeline on Luck’s rehab, where he should be at this point and when he should be doing this or that. Luck was asked if there has been a timeline even though no one in the organization would share it.

“Yes and no,’’ he said. “From what I understand, everybody responds to surgeries differently and everybody’s truly different. There are rough parameters that you’d say ‘Yeah, maybe you should be here by this date or should be there by this date.’

“But I’ve felt like how I’ve progressed is how I needed to progress and how my body and how my shoulder would handle things. It’s also a dangerous game to sort of count backwards from a certain date and say, ‘OK, there’s a date in late August or September that you have to be ready.’ I think that’s completely unfair to the process and will end up causing worse issues if you’re skipping steps in the long-term and probably in the short-term if you really, truly do it right.

“We’re not going to rush it. That would be the worst thing we could do.’’

So it’s take care of today. Then tomorrow. Then the day after that.

Stick to the process.

“Continue on this throwing progression, continue to get stronger, continue to get comfortable in all positions,’’ Luck said. “It’s hard for me to look beyond, really, today’s rehab session. That’s the approach I have to take, anybody has to take if you want to get truly healthy.

“My focus really every day is, ‘OK, how can I get better than I was yesterday?’ No one wants to miss practice. No one wants to miss training camp. But I’m confident that when the time is right for me and when I’m able to practice – whenever that is – that I’ll be up to speed and good enough to be productive in games and give this team my best.’’

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