INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck was eager to get back to work Monday. He’s still not sure when he’ll start throwing passes.
Three months after undergoing shoulder surgery, the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback showed up for opening day of offseason workouts looking fit, trim and minus the sling he’d been wearing to protect his right arm.
“I am where the physical therapists, trainers and doctors say I am. I’m not going to worry about it.,” Luck said, declining to provide a timetable for his expected return. “I have full trust in the guys helping me out. I want to play, I want to play, but I’m not going to worry about it.”
Team officials have already said they don’t expect Luck to participate in many — if any — on-field drills between now and the end of June’s three-day mini-camp.
The hope is Luck will be healthy enough to return to action for the start of training camp. And there’s little doubt the Colts will be patient after watching their franchise player endure two straight injury-plagued seasons.
Luck acknowledged Monday for the first time that his physical woes began at Tennessee in Week 3 of the 2015 season. Luck led the Colts to a come-from-behind win that day to avoid a 0-3 start, but the most indelible image from the game was the sideline video of then-backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tapping Luck on the chest. Luck winced in pain.
Over the next four weeks, Luck downplayed the injury, though he had the first two missed games of his career.
He wound up missing nine games that season, the last seven with a lacerated kidney, before opting for rehab over surgery.
Last year, the Colts thought they could keep Luck on the field with extra time off during the week. At times it helped, but the pain eventually returned and the continued ailments prompted Luck to choose surgery after last season.
“There were times when, yeah, you play through pain, and there are times when you feel great. I’ve played through pain every year,” Luck said. “It was a little different beast (last year) in that my practice schedule was different and altered. And there were times during the year where I would get hit in an awkward way, and it would hurt.”
Until Luck is ready to go, Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris will run plays. They are the only other quarterbacks on Indy’s roster.
The problem is that Luck’s spring absence could hurt the Colts in the fall because this is when he normally tries to get in sync with familiar faces and newcomers.
“I’ll just let him know that I’m accountable knowing the plays, knowing that I’m a smart player,” recently signed receiver Kamar Aiken said Monday. “It’s letting him know I’m locked into the plays and when it’s time for him to get back on the field, I’m ready to go.”
Luck isn’t the only Colt coming back from injuries.
Left guard Jack Mewhort and defensive end Kendall Langford both finished last season on injured reserve with bad knees. Both said they felt pretty good Monday, though it’s unclear how much work they’ll do before training camp.
Defensive tackle Henry Anderson, who wasn’t the same after coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee last year, said Monday he’s more confident in cutting on his right leg this year.
Coach Chuck Pagano was not available Monday. General manager Chris Ballard is scheduled to take questions Wednesday.
But the biggest questions surround Luck — and right now there aren’t many answers.
“At first, it’s a little weird, especially when you’re in a sling, that’s really odd. But once you’re in a routine, it’s like anything else, you’re in a routine,” Luck said. “It was my decision, ultimately. The team gave me all the resources I felt like I needed to make the best decision, and I have no regrets about having surgery.”
NOTES: The Colts announced Monday that receiver Quan Bray and tight end Erik Swoope have signed their free-agent tenders. Both were exclusive rights free agents.