From no concern to 'no timetable' on Luck, Colts' season now in limbo

Andrew Luck remains sidelined with no timetable for his return. Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS -- Days, weeks and months have passed since Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had right shoulder surgery in January. As each day passes, the odds of Luck missing the Colts' Week 1 game at the Los Angeles Rams increases. Luck has not been officially ruled out for the game against the Rams but is still on the physically unable to perform list with less than 10 practices remaining before the Sept. 10 game.

"There's no timeline," coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday. "No timetable."

No timetable. That's been the common theme coming from the Colts over the past month.

Why didn't the Colts try harder to pursue another quarterback in May or June to push the struggling Scott Tolzien, who is currently starting, for snaps if they knew there was a possibility that Luck wouldn't be ready for the start of the regular season?

Owner Jim Irsay acknowledged they did talk to a quarterback but that player wanted too much money. That means Indianapolis appears to be stuck with Tolzien barring Luck being taken off PUP and being ready in time for Week 1, the team changing direction by going with backup Stephen Morris over Tolzien, or it going outside the organization to acquire another quarterback.

Tolzien has completed 12 of 19 passes for 94 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Colts have scored only three points and are 1-of-8 on third down with him at quarterback.

"I think there's been ups, there's been downs," offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said. "There have been good things, some not-so-good things. I feel comfortable with him and the direction he's going. We have two more preseason games and those will be good tests."

The Colts didn't think they would need to turn to Tolzien when they announced that Luck had surgery to fix the lingering problems that had been an issue since Week 3 of the 2015 season. Irsay went on Twitter on Jan. 19 and said his $140-million quarterback would be ready for the season.

Irsay took it a step forward two months later during the NFL's annual owners meetings in Phoenix when he told cbs4indy.com that he thought Luck would be close to being ready once training camp opened in July.

"I would say that certainly he should be pretty close to being ready and really throwing it around pretty damn well once training camp comes," Irsay told the website. "That's the way the doctors feel right now."

Irsay, speaking at town hall event at Butler University in June, said Luck was "healing tremendously" and that the surgical procedure to repair the labrum wasn't complicated.

The Colts announced on July 24 that Luck would start training camp on PUP with the plan of having him off it by the start of the regular season, which avoided him having to miss the first six weeks of the season.

General manager Chris Ballard, who has consistently said they're more worried about Luck's long-term health, said that day that his quarterback did not have a setback in the rehabilitation process.

"I will be better than I was -- coming into this, I'll be better coming out of it," Luck said on July 29. "I know that. I don't know what day it's gonna be, I don't know what week, I don't know when it's gonna be, but I definitely will be, and there's no reason to freak out."

Even Irsay's stance changed.

He not only said on Aug. 13 that there's a chance that Luck won't play against the Rams, he also said he could possibly miss the first couple games of the regular season.

"Control the controllables, right?," coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday.

Luck is throwing the football and has even been seen being a spectator during practice at times. He's not permitted to throw or practice with his teammates while on PUP. It's unknown how long it'll take Luck to find his rhythm once he's taken off the list. But it's probably safe to say it'll take some time.

"We're not going to know until we get him out here," Pagano said. "Again, when doctors say he's ready, healthy and 100 percent and he can start practicing -- then you'll have that answer."