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Colts: Trading draft picks proves assurance in Andrew Luck's future

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts would not have traded down in next week's NFL draft if they had any concerns about the health of quarterback Andrew Luck.

"We traded the third pick in the draft to move back to 6," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Friday. "I think that said we're pretty confident in where he's at."

Luck's status for the 2018 season is unknown. The quarterback has not thrown a football since October 2017, and the Colts continue to take a methodical approach in his rehabilitation to get to that point. Luck has been doing exercises that Ballard has said are "conducive" to the same thing as throwing a football.

Last month, the Colts traded the No. 3 pick to the New York Jets for the No. 6 pick, two second-round picks (No. 37 and 49) in this year's draft and an additional second-round pick in next year's draft. If there were concerns about his health, they could have stood pat with the third pick and selected one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

The Colts have a timetable on when they would like Luck to start throwing, barring any setbacks, but Ballard said they will not publicly say when that is. The team wants to "let the process play out the right way," Ballard said.

"[We're] very comfortable where he's at," Ballard said. "Working on his strength part of it, throwing motion. But he's in a good spot, guys. I feel good where he's at, feel good about where he's going. Keep working and getting back to playing football. His health is our No. 1 priority."

The strength and range-of-motion work that Luck is currently doing on his shoulder, which he originally injured in Week 3 of the 2015 season and had surgery on in January 2017, will help avoid any potential setbacks once he starts throwing the football.

Luck practiced for about two weeks in the middle of October before the team shut him down and gave him a cortisone shot because of continued soreness. He spent about six weeks in the Netherlands rehabbing his shoulder late last year and has spent the early part of 2018 working with throwing experts in Southern California.

"A lot pressed last year, he pressed to get back," Ballard said. "Everybody heals at a different rate, Things didn't work out where he could play last year. Step by step, he's not going to skip a step this time. Not that he did last time, but he wanted to play. I think he's going take every step necessary to be ready to go."