Andrew Luck will return to practice for the Colts, 'slowly start working' back in

Returning to practice a big sign of progress for Luck (0:49)

Field Yates cautions fans that the Colts will slowly integrate Andrew Luck back into practice while ensuring he remains healthy. (0:49)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will return to practice this week, general manager Chris Ballard said on Indianapolis radio station WFNI-1070 AM on Monday.

"We'll slowly start working him back into practice this week,'' Ballard said. "We'll see how much he gets. But we've got a plan in place to where we want him to start getting him reps, and then in time, as we can get him incorporated back into team work and all that, we'll get him back on the field."

When Luck would return has been the biggest mystery since he had right shoulder surgery in January. Luck began training camp on the physically unable to perform list, but he was taken off PUP prior to the start of the regular season. Ballard and coach Chuck Pagano consistently said that there was no timetable on when Luck would practice. The $140 million quarterback has spent the past nine months working to regain strength in his shoulder, which he originally injured in Week 3 of the 2015 season.

"Andrew's doing good, he's doing really good,'' Ballard said on WFNI. "I've watched him throw the ball, and he's starting to get his motion back, getting his lower body to start working with his upper body. His strength levels are getting back to where they need to be.''

Pagano, who also was on WFNI on Monday, said Luck won't handle a major load in practice right away. Jacoby Brissett will continue to start at quarterback until Luck is ready to play in his first regular-season game since Week 17 of the 2016 campaign.

The Colts (1-3) host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

"Everybody has to understand he's not going to come back and take all the first-team reps and play 50, 60, 70 snaps in practice a day,'' Pagano said of Luck on the radio. "We have to integrate him back into practice. Like anybody else, do some individual, throw some routes versus air, stay with his throwing progression and bring him along. Again, it'd be great just to have him out there with his teammates, red jersey on, working again.''