Recent updates have surfaced regarding Andrew Luck’s progress (or lack thereof) in his return from off-season shoulder surgery in January. Luck has yet to resume throwing and was limited during all of OTA’s and the Colts’ offseason program. Despite Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay reporting that Luck remains on target for week 1 of the 2017 season, I’m a little skeptical, and you should be, too.
Before we take a look at Luck’s current rehab process, let’s examine the star QB’s injury history. Luck entered the league in 2012 after being the #1 overall pick out of Stanford. He immediately proved his worth and proved to be durable after three consecutive seasons of playing and starting in all 16 regular season games. However, in 2015, Andrew’s luck ran out (cue laughter). In 2015, Luck only played in seven games, missing time due to a torn abdominal muscle and a lacerated kidney. To me, the abdominal muscle injury is not a long-term concern. Similarly, the lacerated kidney can’t be held against Luck, as this is a very fluky injury. Prior to this injury, however, Luck was injured in week 3 against the Tennessee Titans and was diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, causing him to miss the first two NFL games of his career in Weeks 4 and 5.
Upon returning to the field, Luck was clearly limited by the shoulder. From weeks 6-9 in 2015, Luck averaged a completion percentage of just 54.8% while averaging 282 yards and 2.5 TDs per game while throwing 3 INTs and 2 INTs in separate games. Over the course of those four weeks, the Colts went 1-3, proving that their success relies heavily on the production of their Pro Bowl QB.
It has recently been confirmed that Luck’s recent shoulder surgery stemmed from his injury early on in 2015. Take a look at an interesting quote I found from Irsay in 2015 just after the injury. “There isn’t some kind of chronic shoulder injury or anything like that, I promise you. There are no surgeries planned. He is fine, and the shoulder is something that just disappears into the woodwork when he wins his next MVP or when he wins a Super Bowl.” Did Irsay truly believe that Luck would be fine? Maybe, but he’s been wrong before, and it makes me skeptical this time around. Irsay was clearly wrong back in 2015, and Luck’s injury did end up being a chronic issue, eventually resulting in surgery. Why should we believe him again when he says Luck is on track for week 1 this season?
I struggled to find details regarding Luck’s surgery from earlier this year. The Colts have certainly been vague about the procedure and Luck’s rehab process thus far, and I don’t expect that to change. However, here’s what we know: Luck underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in mid-January. What we don’t know is what exactly was done in the surgery, what other specific structures may have been damaged, or what this means for his return to the field.
In general, rehab for a torn labrum is a 6-9 month recovery process in total. We are quickly approaching that 6-month mark, and there is still very little information out there about Luck’s return to the field. While I’m not ready to sound the alarms quite yet, I will be concerned if Luck remains limited in training camp or experiences any setbacks come August. The Colts invested heavily in their franchise QB, and as we’ve seen before, their success relies largely on the health of Luck. I expect the organization to continue to be vague and cautious with Luck’s rehab. My best guess: Luck won’t play in many, if any, pre-season games, but in the end, I do expect him to be ready for week 1 of the NFL season.
Long-term, if this surgery is truly for an isolated labrum repair, I don’t expect there to be future complications. Back in 2006, Drew Brees had his labrum repaired after a shoulder dislocation, and all he’s done is win NFC Offensive Player of the Year 3x, NFL Offensive Player of the Year 2x, and earn Super Bowl MVP honors in 2009. Long-term, Luck should be fine, so if there’s an owner in your dynasty league who is worried about the Pro Bowl QB, I’m certainly trying to buy now while you still can.