Luck limited at practice, uncertain for game at Houston
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck’s prognosis for Thursday night’s game is still under wraps, and that’s how the Colts plan to keep it.
After missing his first NFL game Sunday because of an injured right shoulder, the Indianapolis quarterback returned to a light practice Monday and felt well enough to lob two short screen passes to running backs during the portion open to reporters.
Apparently, that was all coach Chuck Pagano needed to be convinced Luck was on the mend.
"He looked good," Pagano said following a walkthrough in which nobody was wearing helmets or pads. "He’s moving in the right direction, trending in the right direction so he’s a lot better than he was Saturday. He had a good day."
Pagano declined to say what else — if anything — Luck actually did after reporters left.
Luck was listed as a limited participant with his status day to day.
What people want to know is whether Luck will reclaim his starting job Thursday night at Houston (1-3).
Luck wasn’t dropping any hints Monday. The short week prompted team officials to move his regularly scheduled Monday interview session to Tuesday.
Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was 30 of 47 with 282 yards and one touchdown in Sunday’s 16-13 overtime win over Jacksonville, didn’t provide much insight, either.
"This is his hometown," Hasselbeck said, referring to Houston. "He doesn’t give me snaps in practice, so I know if he can make it happen, he’s going to make it happen."
Last week, Pagano said he was "supremely confident" Luck would play against the Jaguars. At game time, Luck was inactive.
The Colts actions Monday may have provided a blueprint for what to expect this week. Josh Johnson, the No. 3 quarterback who was signed Friday, was waived Monday and replaced by cornerback Shaun Prater.
Even Luck’s injury remains unclear.
One report Monday said Luck sustained a partially separated throwing shoulder in a Week 3 victory at Tennessee. Pagano quickly dismissed it.
"I never heard that," he said. "Sore shoulder is what I heard."
With or without Luck, the Colts (2-2) face a pivotal matchup against J.J. Watt and the Texans.
A win would allow the two-time defending AFC South champs to retain the division lead, and break the NFL’s record for most consecutive wins against one division. The Colts and 1972-73 Dolphins are tied at 15.
Indianapolis also would get some needed momentum heading into a long weekend that will give Luck even more recovery time before contending with the toughest portion of Indy’s schedule — a five-game stretch against New England, New Orleans, Carolina, Denver and Atlanta.
Luck wasn’t the only Colts quarterback feeling a little under the weather Monday. The 40-year-old Hasselbeck acknowledged he came to practice with a stomach ache, but not too many bumps or bruises after making his first start in nearly three years.
But Luck wasn’t just a spectator Sunday.
"Did you watch him there on the side, when the TV (camera) was on him?" Pagano said. "He played that game. Not physically, but mentally he played that game. He strained mentally, he gave everything he had. He was mentally whipped after that."
If Luck can’t go Thursday, the Colts will revert to Plan B one more time.
"I’m going to approach this week the same way I approached last week and every other week," Hasselbeck said. "I expect him to play, but I’ll be ready if needed."
Notes: Pagano said cornerback Greg Toler (neck) and tight end Dwayne Allen (ankle) returned to full practice Monday. … Defensive lineman Henry Anderson (foot) and Kendall Langford (back), cornerbacks Jalil Brown (groin) and Vontae Davis (foot), linebackers Jerrell Freeman (groin) and Bjoern Werner (hamstring), running backs Frank Gore (foot) and Tyler Varga (concussion) did not practice. … The Colts also made a practice squad move by signing cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and releasing tight end Sean McGrath.