INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For those not paying attention last week when he announced Andrew Luck would not return this season and addressed the ancillary issues, Chris Ballard was back explaining all things Andrew Luck Wednesday.
During a lengthy Wednesday appearance on 1070 The Fan’s “The Ride with JMV’’ that was sought by team officials, the Indianapolis Colts general manager insisted, among other things:
There’s no rift between the franchise and its $140 million quarterback:
“We’re all in a good place,’’ Ballard said. “We had a press conference last week where I thought I answered every question. When things aren’t going well and your best player is hurt, everybody’s going to speculate. And until we see Andrew actually go back out there and play and play again, people are going to continue to speculate.
“In terms of the organization and Andrew’s relationship, it’s still very good. I’ve had about two meetings with just me, Mr. Irsay and Andrew where we’ve all sat down and talked this through. There’s not been at any point has anybody – Mr. Irsay or anyone in the front office – that’s unhappy with Andrew. He knows that.’’
There’s no indication the January surgery to repair a partially torn posterior labrum in Luck’s right shoulder is career-threatening:
“Not at all,’’ Ballard said. “Lord knows I get it from my wife. ‘Is this career-threatening?’ I’ve never got ‘career-threatening’ from anybody. That’s never been said. That’s never been said internally.’’
There’s no plan at this time for additional surgery:
“It’s rehab right now,’’ Ballard said. “That’s where we’re at. That’s the best course of action right now.’’
The team never misled the public regarding when Luck might return even though Irsay was optimistic from the start his franchise QB would be ready for the start of the season. Ballard and coach Chuck Pagano never offered a timetable for Luck’s return:
“Mr. Irsay is an optimist, as I was,’’ Ballard said. “We’re always going to take the best-case scenario and try to work off of it.
“When I first walked in the door, we were all very optimistic, but you don’t know. Even going into training camp when he was starting his throwing program, we felt optimistic. Worse-case scenario it would be early in the season.’’
It might not be week 1, but within the first month was a reasonable expectation.
“Then we just weren’t progressing the way we wanted to progress,’’ Ballard said. “It just kept going on. That’s when we got to the point we started asking more questions.
“Our intention all along was for Andrew to play and Andrew said that: ‘My intention is to play and I will be back on the field this year.’ Sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we all want it to.’’
No one is questioning Luck’s capacity to fight through any pain that accompanies the throwing portion of his rehab. That issue seemed to be raised when Irsay talked during the preseason about “the four-inch field between” Luck’s ears:
“Any player that has surgery – knee, ankle – there’s a . . . I think what Mr. Irsay was getting at is they’ve all got to overcome that hurdle,’’ Ballard said. “They have to overcome the hurdle of getting back out there on the field and playing again and accepting where they’re at.’’