Quarterback Andrew Luck will not play in Sunday’s all-important AFC South Division showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Although Luck was allowed to participate in some individual drills Wednesday, head coach Chuck Pagano made it clear afterward that this three-time Pro Bowl passer won’t suit up against the Texans in a clash of 6-7 teams tied for the division lead.
“No,” Pagano said, when asked if there was any chance Luck plays. “I’m not going to sit here and try to play that whole game with the kid or the Texans. He’s not playing.”
Luck’s workout with the team was the first since he suffered a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle on Nov. 8. While a kidney scan permitted him to throw and run some, he was not cleared to participate in the team’s more intensive 11-on-11 drills.
The Colts and Luck have reiterated he must be 100 percent before he can practice and then play.
“As soon as they say, ‘Hey, look, you’re 100 percent and you can start participating in 11-on-11 drills, team drills,’ then I’m sure that’ll be the point, then we’ll make a decision on when we bring him back and we put him on the field,” Pagano said.
Luck was understandably unhappy but understanding about being ruled out.
“There’s obviously disappointment,” he said. “Every game you don’t play is a disappointment. You obviously want to get back as quick as you can. I don’t say I’m surprised, in a sense, you stick to the process, but disappointed? Sure. Absolutely.”
Luck added, “My kidney is not fully healed and that does not allow me to get in a position with contact that could further injure myself worse.”
So the immediate question became how is 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck, who rested Wednesday due to rib, shoulder and neck injuries.
“Yeah, I expect him to be out there and play,” Pagano said of Hasselbeck, who the team hopes will return to practice Thursday.
Veteran journeyman Charlie Whitehurst, who has played in just 22 games with nine starts in his 10-year career, took all the snaps with the first-team offense Wednesday.
Pagano was asked if Whitehurst is preparing to start.
“I think it would not be very wise on our part if we didn’t do that, just like we did last week and the week before,” the coach said. “With every day, with every practice, he took every team rep basically today, which was great for him and his maturation, his understanding of the offense, the communication, the language, timing, all that stuff. So it was good and we’ll continue to prepare just as we’ve done since he’s been here.”
Offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo, like Luck, was listed as limited, but Pagano said the lineman could play if he continues to progress without any setback in his recovery from a left knee sprain. Castonzo has missed the past three games.
If nothing else, the Colts got a boost from seeing Luck on the field.
“Yeah, it was, especially for him,” Pagano said. “Any time you’re sidelined like that and you’re away from the game and you can’t compete and you can’t even get out there and run around a little bit and jog and play a little throw-and-catch, it kills you, so it was great for all of us and especially Andrew.”
Added Luck: “Felt good to be out there, good to run around and throw with the guys, so it was a good sort of next step in the whole progression of things.”
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