INDIANAPOLIS — He’s “good to go.”
That’s the word from Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, who told reporters on Friday that quarterback Andrew Luck is expected to be a full participant when the team begins training camp practices on Thursday at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind.
Ballard acknowledged that Luck, who missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing surgery to his throwing shoulder, is “gonna have days off” and won’t throw every single day at camp, “but Frank (Reich) and (Luck) and our staff and our strength staff and our medical staff have done a great job putting a plan together, and when he’s out there, there won’t be any limitations.”
Ballard said Luck has most recently been throwing to receivers in California as he continues the process of checking off boxes and ramping up his program, getting to the point where he can throw in practice and game settings four days a week, just as he would during the regular season.
Luck and the rest of his veteran Colts teammates report to Grand Park on Wednesday, and from there, Ballard anticipates his quarterback will see his reps, and his intensity, increase with each practice.
“He’s throwing the ball pretty well,” Ballard said of Luck’s work in the break between the end of the offseason program and the start of training camp. “I thought the first day, there was one ball on a swing pass that I was like, “Ooh. OK. There you go.’ He really let it go. And then I thought the next day you saw four or five balls that he really let go. And I think that’ll be the case even when you get into camp. I can remember any quarterback I’ve been around, unless they’re just God-gifted with an arm, most of them kind of throttle it back a little bit to start out.”
From there, Ballard acknowledged that Luck will get some preseason snaps, but wants to see how he progresses and then will meet with head coach Frank Reich to determine just how much the quarterback will participate in those games.
“He’s gotta play. Andrew needs to play, and he knows that,” Ballard said. “Look: the more team reps and live reps we can get, and then making sure when we do play in the preseason, you know, (we’re) controlling what we’re doing — our staff’s not going to show you everything, and they’re going to do everything we can to make sure we protect and do things to keep people at the position healthy.”
Ballard admitted it’s a “fine line” when weighing the risk/reward of those preseason reps, however.
“I know people say, ‘Well, preseason doesn’t count,’ but I’m telling you, when you put those pads on and you blow the whistle and you’re keeping score, those guys compete, man. I mean, they just do,” Ballard said. “So it is a fine line. Frank and I will have some more discussions on how long guys will play, how long our vets will play, starters will play. We’ll have more discussions as we get into it.”