There is growing uncertainty in Indianapolis that quarterback Andrew Luck may not make another start in 2015 after suffering a lacerated kidney against the Denver Broncos on November 8.
For the 6-7 Colts, who are tied for first place in the AFC South with the Houston Texans, this likely means the end of their playoff aspirations, or at best, a quick exit in the playoffs.
When Luck’s kidney laceration was first announced, Ian Rapoport reported that Colts’ owner Jim Irsay told him personally that Luck would play during Week 15 against the Texans. With that game fast approaching, Luck’s status remains unclear.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that many others in the Colts camp don’t know if Luck will make his return this season, much less this weekend against Houston.
Another worry is that the kidney laceration is a much more delicate injury, making the timetable much less clear than, say, a broken bone. From Schefter:
The Colts are handling Luck as carefully and cautiously as possible, and with good reason. Doctors know that Luck cannot risk elevating his heart rate because it would pump more blood through his kidneys, delaying the healing process, according to medical sources.
Luck has been getting regular kidney scans, as often as every fourth day, according to sources.
This suggests that even if Luck is somehow cleared to practice, he’ll likely be out of shape because he hasn’t been able to elevate his heart rate while sidelined. In short, it’s not looking good for Indianapolis.
Luck is remaining optimistic, though.
“From what I understand, with an internal organ, you have two kidneys (and) you can’t play with one that’s bummed,” he said, via the Indy Star.
On Monday he said he wants to return before the end of the season and believes it will happen. He also recognised the importance of practice when coming back from an injury like this.
“The hope is that you can start practicing before (being cleared to play) so that when you are clear, you can hit the ground running,” Luck said. “I am such a big believer in practice and always will be. You can’t just show up after (being out) however many weeks and practice for a week, go out and expect to be where you want to be. So it will be a little bit of a learning curve again, but I don’t imagine it to be too big of an issue.”
Luck has played only seven games this season, and Matt Hasselbeck, the 40-year-old backup who has filled in for Luck, is also battling a rib injury he sustained against the Jaguars last weekend. This means career backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst could possibly start Sunday’s game, which is a virtual must-win for the Colts.
Fortunately for Indianapolis, Houston has an equally problematic quarterback situation, and will likely start T.J. Yates on Sunday.
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