PHOENIX – If the Colts need to add an extra quarterback to the roster this offseason, they will to keep Andrew Luck fresh for the start of the 2017 season.
After having off-season shoulder surgery in January, Luck continues to heal well according to Owner Jim Irsay.
Speaking at the NFL's Annual Meetings in Phoenix, Irsay said the Colts are relying on the doctors to see just how much workload Luck will carry this offseason.
"We are not going to be rushing him," Irsay said of Luck having surgery on his throwing shoulder. "We are going to make sure, obviously, that the shoulder has to be ready and the doctors are going to give full approval before he starts putting real reps on it and that sort of thing.
"This is going to be a huge benefit in the long run. We really feel that he's going to be completely healed for the season and he's going to have a great season. Chris (Ballard) and Chuck (Pagano) have talked and we are going to make sure, if we need an extra arm in camp, as we start doing our work, we will be prepared for that."
Luck recently returned from California, where he met with his doctor. The Colts got a positive check-up on their franchise quarterback.
The need for surgery in January came from Luck dealing with lingering shoulder issues since the 2015 season.
Shoulder problems for Luck initially began in Week Three of 2015. He missed the next two games, before a kidney injury in Week Nine of the 2015 season ended Luck's year.
In 2016, Luck was on the injury report every week of the season. Even though Luck didn't miss any game action due to his shoulder issues last year, his practice reps were dialed back significantly. Luck practiced "full" in just half of the team's regular season practices in 2016
Despite the banged up shoulder, among other injuries (ankle, elbow, thumb, concussion), Luck still finished the season with a career-high in completion percentage (63.5) and yards per attempt (7.8).
Statistically, the 2016 season was the second best of Luck's career. He was 346-of-545 for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in playing 15 of 16 games.
Irsay spoke on Monday about just how taxing the 2016 season was for Luck in him being available every Sunday.
"I don't think people realized how much he had to work to get ready to play each week," Irsay said on Monday. "He really had to work hard last year and it was very mentally draining to get ready.
"Again, the surgery went great. The labrum, the bicep (were) pristine. There was no problem there. Things could not have gone better, up to this point, from a medical standpoint. But we are going to be depending on our medical people and the doctors in how we pace him into things."
Luck enters 2017 having thrown a touchdown in 23 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
The Colts will begin their offseason program three weeks from Monday (April 17). Training Camp is likely to start in late July, with dates and times to be announced later.
Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris are the other quarterbacks on Indy's roster.*
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