MIAMI – It looks like the Colts will have a starting quarterback not named Matt Hasselbeck under center in next week's regular season finale.
Hasselbeck's shoulder injury (AC sprain) in the second quarter of Sunday's win over Miami has his status for Week 17 in serious jeopardy.
"I'm not ruling anything out, but I'm not super optimistic about a seven-day return right now," Hasselbeck said with his right arm in a sling after Sunday's win.
The throwing shoulder injury to Hasselbeck is the first that he can recall having during his 18 NFL seasons.
In what has been a far too frequent occurrence this season, a hit to Hasselbeck in Sunday's second quarter led to the 40-year-old quarterback slow to get up.
Of course, like the competitor he is, Hasselbeck wanted no part of the sideline.
Following a timeout to tend to Hasselbeck, the Colts dialed up a play that had the quarterback antsy to get back into the game.
"We called the play I liked a lot," a beaten up Hasselbeck said after the Colts seventh win of the season. "It was the first time that we called it this year, so I tried to stay in. I couldn't throw (though), so that's when I knew.
"(Referee) Gene Steratore saw that I was trying to suck it up and he is like, 'Hey if you can't throw, you need to get out of the game,' so I took his advice," Hasselbeck said.
If Sunday was the final game action for Hasselbeck in 2015, he will finish the season 5-3 in his eight starts---a more than commendable performance.
In relief of Hasselbeck on Sunday, backup Charlie Whitehurst saw his most extended action of the season.
For the fourth straight week, Whitehurst entered the game for Hasselbeck and this time he wasn't coming out until the final gun.
Whitehurst said in recent weeks he's had to do double takes towards the sideline when No. 8 has come back onto the field.
"The last two weeks when (Hasselbeck) gets hit, I run a few plays and I'm good," Whitehurst said.
"(Then), I'm like, 'Who in the world is that? He's coming back in!' Last week I wasn't expecting him to come back."
Sunday was different.
"I figured when it was a right shoulder (Sunday), he wasn't coming back."
The health of Whitehurst also came into question late on Sunday.
A hamstring injury to Whitehurst had third stringer Stephen Morris (who was signed by the team last Thursday) taking snaps from center Jonotthan Harrison during the Colts final defensive possession.
Fortunately for the Colts, there would not be another extreme plot twist at the quarterback position. Whitehurst took the final kneel down and expects to be okay after a few days of rehab next week.
The quarterback book on the 2015 Colts could have another chapter to write next week though.
With Andrew Luck's status still murky (he has returned to practice but has yet to be cleared for team drills), and another injury to Hasselbeck, Whitehurst could very well be the guy.
If Whitehurst does start on Sunday against Tennessee, it would be his 10th career start in 10 NFL seasons. Ironically enough, Whitehurst's last start came with the Titans, against the Colts, in the 2014 regular season finale.
"We did our job today. That was kind of what we can control," Whitehurst said after the Colts did keep their minimal playoff hopes alive.
"We need a little bit of help. Hopefully those will go our way and we will have a fun week of practice and have something to play for next week."