INDIANAPOLIS — Amid all the chatter about the Indianapolis Colts' evolving search for their next head coach, Chris Ballard on Wednesday provided an update on the progress of the team's starting quarterback.
Andrew Luck, who missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, is "in a good place" as he continues an intense rehab regimen, Ballard said.
And, despite rumors to the contrary, there is no concern about the need for Luck to undergo any additional surgical procedures, the second-year Colts general manager added.
"No. 1, I'm going to listen to Andrew Luck, who I absolutely believe in and trust," Ballard said. "I'm going to listen to the doctors that he is talking to and dealing with. And I'm going to listen to the guy that is training him right now. … He doesn't need surgery. I have not gotten that from the two doctors that he's seen here after the season."
Luck, who underwent surgery one year ago, went through the recovery and rehab process throughout the entire offseason and was able to get back to the practice field, albeit in a very limited fashion, for a couple days the week of Oct. 4, when he went through individual drills and threw some routes to receivers against air.
The next week, Luck was able to increase his workload a little bit by facing a live defense for the first time this year, as he took a few snaps as the scout team quarterback in 7-on-7 drills.
But on Oct. 18, Ballard announced Luck would be held out of practice after he had a cortisone injection to address some soreness in his surgically-repaired right shoulder. About two weeks later, on Nov. 2, the team decided to place Luck on Injured Reserve, officially ending his season.
Luck spent the better part of the last two months of 2017 over in the Netherlands, where he ramped up his rehab, strength training and soft tissue work with a Dutch-based trainer he's worked with extensively in the past.
He returned to the Colts' facility Dec. 29, and told reporters at that time that he was "preparing to get a football in my hands very soon."
"I'm on a progression to get to that point," Luck said. "A lot of it still has to do with me and getting my strength back to a better level. I still have a ways to go there … I really don't want to skip steps along the way."
Asked if he was concerned he might not be ready to go by the start of the 2018 season, Luck said, 'I don't see that being in jeopardy at all."
In fact, Luck expressed hope that he could be back in the fold with the team when it returns for the offseason workout program, which could begin as soon as April 2.
"I'm very optimistic," Luck said. "I feel really good today. I do not think I need another surgery. I believe in the process I'm in right now. I've had great help, so I hope to continue to get better. Yeah, I plan on being ready for everything."
Ballard on Wednesday said Luck's "strength is good" as he continues to work to get his shoulder back to 100 percent. While the quarterback is yet to continue throwing a football as of yet, the focus remains on "working on his throw motion" and "working on his arm speed right now."
"He is throwing balls, working on arm speed," Ballard said. "Andrew is not going to skip a step," Ballard said. "He's going to do everything right to get himself ready to play.
"He's going to do everything right to get himself ready to play and I'm very confident, he's very confident, that he's going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong," Ballard continued. " I'm very proud of the kid – wouldn't want anybody else on our team. We want our team to match what he has inside."