INDIANAPOLIS – If Andrew Luck is cleared for game action next week, No. 12 is going to be under center in the Colts regular season finale.
Playoff implications or not, Luck wants to be out there next Sunday (again, if cleared).
The competitive nature in Luck has him itching for at least one more game this season.
For the love of the game.
"Football, man," Luck said on Tuesday as to why he would want to play in Week 17, even if the Colts were eliminated from playoff consideration this weekend.
Plus, Luck believes the stakes will still be high come next Sunday.
"There will be something on the line," Luck said of the Colts playoff chances extending one more week.
For an eighth time this season, Luck's role on game day come Sunday will be there to greet Matt Hasselbeck on the sideline. Not vice versa, like it's supposed to be.
That's why Luck considers this season the hardest of his football career, at any level.
Injuries have never sidelined Luck for a lengthy period in his football playing days.
"It's certainly tested patience of mindset, of spirit, I guess in a sense of playing," Luck said on Tuesday.
"It's no fun, but it's what you have to go through."
Luck is back practicing this week, in a limited role, still waiting to be cleared for teamwork.
Tuesday marked the seventh week of Luck's recovery. The original timetable was two-to-six weeks, a wide range for an injury with little precedent at the NFL level.
This will be Luck's sixth straight game missed, something he didn't expect to linger with the New Year approaching.
"I (thought) I would be playing (now)," Luck says.
"But at the same time, I realize the sort of ambiguity of this type of injury, not that it's unprecedented, but it's just not much to do about it and no one has much info on it."
Chuck Pagano sees the frustration in Luck.
A player with the drive of Luck isn't used to having to spectate for such a substantial, and critical, time of the season.
"This is really his first taste of being sidelined, and it's hard because he feels that I need to be there for the team---my teammates and all that stuff," Pagano says of the three-time Pro Bowler.
"At the same time, you've got to be patient, you've got to listen to the doctors and you've got to go through the protocol. You've got to do your rehab, you've got to mend and you've got to heal."
Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck.