Will Colts insert Matt Hasselbeck for injured quarterback Andrew Luck?

Luck has been limited in practice all week. Hasselbeck has taken first-team snaps. It's quite possible star misses first game Sunday.

It sure doesn’t seem like Andrew Luck will play Sunday.

But perhaps that’s what the Indianapolis Colts want everyone to think about the quarterback in question and his sore right throwing shoulder.

“Andrew Luck Watch” reached a third day Friday at the team complex — and the three-time Pro Bowl passer was nowhere to be found during the portion of practice the media is allowed to watch. 

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano wouldn’t divulge many specifics, although he acknowledged his star was still in the state (in other words, no long-distance trip to see a specialist). And despite evidence to the contrary, the coach said he’s still supremely confident Luck will play in Sunday’s home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But there’s enough evidence that points to the contrary.

“He was limited,” Pagano said, which Luck has been for practice in each of the past three days.

And Pagano continually repeated that assessment. On the injury report, Luck is listed as questionable. He’s never missed a start in 51 regular-season games or six playoff starts.

Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, the Colts' $3-million insurance policy, said Luck looked good when he was on the field. But was that a purposeful slip of the tongue by a 40-year-old, 17-season veteran with exceptional media savvy?

“I’m ready every week, just in case,” Hasselbeck said.

Asked the obvious about what to expect come Sunday, Hasselbeck said, “I really don’t know.”

Even if he does know, he can’t say.

Hasselbeck received most of the first-team practice reps this week. It’s unknown how many, if any, Luck took.

“It will probably be one of those things where I find out at the end,” Hasselbeck said, “just like you guys.”

Earlier in the day, the team announced it had signed quarterback Josh Johnson. That the move comes so late in the week suggests the Colts reached the conclusion they need a back up for Hasselbeck, if Luck can’t start.

The addition of another quarterback was always part of the plan, Pagano said.

“We’ve got a 40-year-old quarterback that’s qualified, he’s got his AARP card now,” he said, “and he can’t take all of those (practice) reps.”

It was an attempt at humor amid a tense series of questions and answers.

Perhaps Pagano was so concerned about keeping an unrevealing poker face, his memory lapsed in regards to his backup quarterback. Asked how Hasselbeck handled the extra reps, the coach said, “Awesome. Fantastic” and added that the Colts haven’t had to change the offense.

But then he asked, “Did you guys watch the Tennessee game last year? Huh? Who started that game?”

Told it was Luck, who played a half, Pagano was surprised.

“Did he?” the coach said. “I didn’t think we played him. I have to go back and look. I’d better look at it again. I apologize.”

Hasselbeck last started a game in 2012 for Tennessee. He’s a former three-time Pro Bowl star who led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl in 2006.

Pagano was clearly agitated about the barrage of Luck questions.

“I hope you guys sleep good tonight,” he said. “You’re like a bunch of frightened birds in here. God almighty.”

Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.


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