That’s how long the NFL will go between appearances by Andrew Luck, assuming he returns in September 2018. After undergoing shoulder surgery in January for an unknown injury, the Colts placed Luck on injured reserve on Thursday, but this was just a formality. Over the past few months it had become increasingly obvious that he would not play this season.
Luck underwent shoulder surgery in January to address an undisclosed injury to his throwing shoulder that had been lingering since 2015. Now, nearly 10 months after the operation, Luck’s shoulder is still not recovering, causing him to seek outside medical opinions, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Luck returned to practice on October 4, but suffered a setback in his shoulder two weeks later. Now, his season is over.
New GM Chris Ballard held a press conference on Thursday and said that the decision was made with Luck’s interests in mind.
The handling of Luck’s throwing shoulder raises serious questions about the Colts’ decision-making throughout 2017. Why didn’t the team’s medical staff have a proper understanding of the recovery timeline for its $123 million quarterback? And why didn’t the front office make a move for a serviceable backup until days before the regular season?
The Colts will now set their sights on 2018. With a high slot in next year’s draft, there’s a chance that Luck will return to the most talent-laden roster he’s ever played on in the NFL, though that’s not saying much. The quarterback will likely spend a portion of next season shaking off the months of rust that will have accumulated during the time that, in an ideal world, would have comprised the beginning of his prime. Five years removed from the 2012 draft where Luck was hailed as the quarterback of his generation, we have just as many questions about where his career is heading.