INDIANAPOLIS – Don't freak out, says Andrew Luck.
That was Luck's message to those in Colts Nation on Saturday morning, when the Colts reported for their 2017 Training Camp.
Yes, the franchise quarterback will open up camp on the physically unable to perform list.
And while Luck is still hesitant to circle a definite return date on the calendar, the quarterback was steadfast Saturday morning with a repeated message.
"I will be better than I was coming into this, I know that." Luck said of his recovery from right shoulder surgery. "I don't know what day it's going to be, I don't know what week, but I definitely will be and there's no reason to freak out."
When the Colts open up their 2017 Training Camp with practice down at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Luck will be an observer.
It will be foreign territory for Luck, who values any and all practice reps he can get his hands on.
Luck has been throwing for about two weeks, but would not reveal the specifics of his throwing program.
Missing time in camp and possibly the preseason could be coming for Luck and he is trying not to worry about how that might impact him once he's cleared for game action.
"That's a good question," Luck said of the ramifications of missing reps this time of year. "Sort of one I don't want to think about because it doesn't affect me today.
"I love practice and I would love to be out there for every practice, every week. I know that at some point I will be able to do that. No one wants to miss practice, 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 productive enough in games to give this team my best."
While Saturday provided the return to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for many Colts, the complex has really been Luck's home away from home this summer.
Rehabbing five-to-six days a week, for nearly 10 hours a day, has been taxing on Luck.
Not throwing for nearly seven months was something Luck had never experienced in his football life.
"The mental part was not fun and was not easy," Luck said Saturday. "It's tested my patience. I know at times I can be unpleasant to be around with guys that I work with on a daily basis for eight, nine hours a day and I commend everybody's patience for handling me at certain times."
Patience is the operative word when describing the Colts' approach to Luck's rehab.
The Colts continue to be very methodical with Luck, something the quarterback appreciates, and believes is the proper way to handle publically committing to a specific return date.
"It's a dangerous game to count backwards from a certain date, late August, or September," Luck says. "I think that's completely unfair to the process and will end up causing worse issues if you are skipping steps.
"We are not going to rush it, to rush it. I think that would be the worst thing we could do. The end game is for me to better than I was before I was injured and I don't want to put a date on that. I think that's really unfair."
During the rehab process, Luck has spoken with guys that have had to come back from similar injuries. He knows there will be a bit of weirdness to it all when it is time to let it fly again.
Next up for Luck is continuing to put on strength, while furthering his range of motion and providing stability to his shoulder as the throwing progresses.
Before Luck's media session concluded on Saturday, he acknowledged that there's still a ways to go in his rehab, but the finish line is in sight.
"I really feel this way and especially in the last weeks and month, 'Wow, I see the light at the end of the tunnel,'" Luck said.
"I truly feel in my mind and my heart that I know I am going to be better. I really, really know that I'm going to be better."
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