NFL Teams
Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer 315d

Andrew Luck takes part in first practice since last season

NFL, Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck participated in practice on Wednesday for the first time since the week leading up to Week 17 in 2016.

Luck, who had right shoulder surgery in January, wore only shorts, a red non-contact jersey and a helmet while the rest of his teammates were in full pads.

"It was another good day for me and that's what's important," Luck said. "That's what's been important, that's what's still important on this process for me. It was fun to be back on the field with teammates. Those little things. I know it's cliché, but you do take those things for granted and then just to put a helmet on, have a jersey with a 12 on it and get to go out and warm up with the guys and throw a couple of passes and do some drills in a team setting was fun. And more importantly, it's part of me getting back into the swing of things, into being a quarterback, into being a quarterback for this team."

Luck warmed up fellow quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett, Scott Tolzien and Phillip Walker before doing individual work with them and then some routes versus air throws with his receivers. Luck won't practice Thursday, but he's expected to participate in practice on Friday as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks.

"There's a pitch count, there's a number," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "We'll keep an eye on him. We've got it scripted exactly how many throws he'll have and what routes he'll throw based on each day. ... We'll just look at it and evaluate every one, docs and trainers will and take it one day at a time."

This is foreign territory for Luck because this is the longest he's been without football at any level. He missed all of the team's offseason workouts, all of the preseason and the first four weeks of the regular season while rehabbing from a posterior labrum tear in his right shoulder. He's working to regain his arm and shoulder strength so that he can get to the stage where he's "whipping every throw" around the field.

Luck, who said he has not experienced any setbacks, talked to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees about returning from shoulder surgery. Brees had major shoulder surgery in 2006.

"Certain parts of it have not been easy and quite frustrating," Luck said. "Especially not being able to be on the field with your teammates, your buddies. There's a sense of you that feels like dead weight, that you're sort of eating up time and energy from other guys that need the time and energy that can actually go out on the field and play. That aspect of it is quite frustrating. Mentally, I've really tried to stay in it.

"I know how vital it is for the guy who's playing, the starting quarterback, to have the support of everybody not only in the building, but in that quarterback room. I've tried to stay engaged and it's made my situation a little easier to bear."

Luck, who has missed 14 games over the past two-plus seasons, won't put a timetable on when he'll return, but he was adamant in saying that he will play this season. Pagano has already ruled him out for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Brissett will continue to start until Luck is ready to start for the Colts (1-3).

"I wish I would wake up tomorrow morning and feel incredible and the whole thing was a dream," Luck said. "But I know that's not the case and I know that's not the reality. And I understood when I elected to have surgery to try not to be surprised by anything, and understand it's going to be a long process. A really, really long process. I'm not surprised in a sense that we're here now.

"What I know is true, I've continued to get better and better and better. And at the end of the day, you take a weeklong snap shot and I know I'm better than I was at this point last week. I got to go out there and throw and do stuff in practice and it felt pretty darn good. That's where my focus as to be."

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