Eric Christian Smith/AP
- The Indianapolis Colts have held Andrew Luck out of training camp with a right leg injury.
- The injury was initially said to be in the calf, but Colts owner Jim Irsay called it a "small little bone" issue, and GM Chris Ballard later said it was an "ankle problem."
- Ballard could not guarantee that Luck would be ready for Week 1.
- The situation is starting to remind the NFL world of 2017 when Luck missed the entire season with a shoulder injury.
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With the NFL season rapidly approaching, Andrew Luck is missing Indianapolis Colts training camp as he deals with a perplexing injury to his right leg.
Luck initially came into camp hobbled with what was described as a calf injury. According to ESPN’s Mike Wells, in March, an MRI revealed a calf strain in Luck’s right leg. Luck sat out portions of organized team activities (OTAs) in May and June with the Colts saying they wanted to take his recovery slowly.
In July, Colts head coach Frank Reich acknowledged that the team wanted to avoid a situation like Kevin Durant. During the NBA Finals, the NBA star suffered a calf injury that led to a torn Achilles tendon.
"I was certainly thinking [about Durant’s injury] … When you see something like that happen, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why you do what we’re doing,’" Reich said. "It was kind of like unspoken truth. That’s why we’re being cautious."
Michael Conroy/APAfter practicing early in training camp, Luck was shut down for several practices. Luck said he knew it wasn’t worthwhile for him to play at anything less than 100%, reflecting on 2017, when he missed the season with a shoulder injury suffered in 2016.
"I could not live with myself if we get to a point in the season and say, ‘Hey, I could’ve done this to take care of this issue, but I didn’t because of X, Y, Z, whatever that is,’" Luck said. "I’m not going to allow that to happen. It’s something, again — 2016. I still have some emotional scars from that and that lives with me still, but I’m trying to use it in a positive way certainly for myself."
With Luck still sitting out of practices, the timeline of his absence continues to be extended. Colts owner Jim Irsay said on SiriusXM radio on Monday that Luck’s situation is unlike Durant’s, and that the QB was instead dealing with a "small little bone" issue.
"I know everyone’s had their questions about Andrew and that sort of thing, but I really feel very confident that he’s going to find his way through this thing," Irsay said on SiriusXM. "After the Durant things, everyone’s erring on the side of caution, but quite frankly this is not even in the Achilles tendon. It’s in another area. It’s a bone. You know I’m not good at these things … It’s a small little bone."
That raised alarms for one day — until Colts GM Chris Ballard instead said on Tuesday that the injury has turned into an ankle problem.
"From the start we’ve been dealing with a calf injury," Ballard said, via Wells. "In March through camp, dealing with a calf and then little area below his calf, which Andrew kind of referred to as a lower leg where he was dealing with some pain, almost in the ankle area. The injury wasn’t getting better and hadn’t been practicing, so in the course of dealing with the calf injury, it appears that now we have an ankle issue."
Ballard said that with Week 1 less than four weeks away, he couldn’t guarantee that Luck would be available to start the regular season.
According to Wells, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been taking snaps with the starters. Luck has been on the sideline watching and has taken snaps in walk-throughs, which can be interpreted as a good thing, according to Wells.
To some, the collective signs — the injury status changing, the Colts insisting they’re confident, even if Luck misses games — means the injury could be worse.
As Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman noted, Irsay told reporters in 2017 that he was not worried about Luck missing games.
Ballard said he has tried to build the rest of the team up so that they are not so reliant on Luck (the Colts went 4-12 in 2017). But without a healthy Luck, the Colts will not be the contenders for the AFC that many expected.
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