Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts have always preached a patient, by-the-book approach to the quarterback's rehab from shoulder surgery.
That won't change come April 9, when Luck and his teammates report back to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis for the start of the team's offseason workout program.
While the first few weeks of the program consist of strictly weight room and conditioning work, the Colts will eventually find themselves on the practice field conducting individual, positional and, later, team drills, which could be Luck's first time doing team work since briefly returning to practice in October before being shut down for the year and placed on Injured Reserve.
So when Luck does find himself back on the field, the process of not skipping steps, which will carry over to his recent work with a throwing expert out in California, will continue, Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday in appearance on 1070 The Fan's "The Grady & Big Joe Show."
"We'll ease him along," Ballard said. "I mean, he's in a great place right now, but we'll ease him along."
After undergoing surgery in January 2017 and spending the entire offseason program, minicamp, training camp and the preseason in recovery and rehab mode, Luck and the Colts were hopeful that he could eventually return to the lineup at some point during the regular season.
But after practicing in a very limited fashion about one month into the season, Luck began to experience some discomfort in his surgically-repaired shoulder; his throwing program was eventually suspended for the rest of the year.
Now with a focus on a more intense rehab regimen, Luck spent a couple months in the Netherlands seeking treatment, and once the Colts' season ended, he headed to California to work with noted throwing expert Tom House.
The approach has worked well to this point, and now, with a new offensive-minded head coach in place in Frank Reich, Luck — who returned to Indianapolis this past weekend
to be part of the opening of the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis — is more than ready to get back to Indy on a full-time basis.
"He'll be involved — he wants to be with his teammates, he wants to be involved in the offense," Ballard said. "He was just in town this last weekend for four days; it was great to see him, he looks great. So he will be involved, and we'll ease him back in."
Luck told Colts.com on Friday that he's looking forward to getting the opportunity to start working with Reich and all the new coaches and players already in place.
"Couldn't be more excited for the season," Luck said. "I know there's a lot of new faces over on West 56th Street, and that's reason for excitement. And I think we can do some really good things.
"It'll be great," Luck said of returning for offseason workouts. "I really feel like I've been away from the game of football for a long time — and it's weird. I haven't missed a season since I was in fourth grade until last year. And those are weird things to sort of rectify in your mind, and it certainly is causing a lot of motivation from that to get back and have fun."