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Colts’ Luck hurt, but claims not injured

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INDIANAPOLIS — In the same breath, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck confessed Wednesday that he was hurt, but claimed he is not injured.

He was deeply hurt by the firing of offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, whose history with Luck, and tight end Coby Fleener, goes back to their days together at Stanford.

Luck said in a conference call Wednesday night that the change was not an easy one.

“It was not fun,” Luck said. “But coach (Chuck) Pagano and the powers that be made their decision, and as a team, you buy in, and get on the same page, and move forward and rely on each other. Hopefully it won’t have a negative effect on our preparation for the game.

“I love Pep. I’ve been with Pep for a long time, since back in college, I feel like I’ve grown a lot under him as a player. He’s a heck of a coach, heck of a guy. Great family, so it’s tough.”

Luck denied reports that he is bothered by shoulder and rib injuries that were more severe than the team claimed. But he does not say that such injuries did indeed hamper him in the past, as reported.

“I feel healthy with no limitations,” Luck said Wednesday. I’m not going to get into anything as far as the past.”

However, Luck, hampered by an ankle problem, saw limited work in Wednesday’s walkthrough practice. Luck tweaked his ankle during Monday night’s overtime loss at Carolina. He said after the workout that his ankle is fine. Luck will start Sunday against Denver.

With a disappointing season for himself, the team and then the firing of Hamilton on Wednesday, Luck admits it will be difficult to keep moving forward, but that is what must be done.

“It’s a long season, I guess, and all (our) goals are still attainable,” Luck said. “Doesn’t make (the Carolina) loss any easier to swallow. Keep grinding. Pick our heads up and get back to work. We have to fix these things in practice and then fix them in games.”

Indianapolis’ new offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, is not expected to make wholesale changes in the Colts’ playbook heading into Sunday’s game against Denver.

Pagano said that there isn’t much time to install new things to the playbook considering Sunday’s home game with Denver. But playing at a quicker pace, upping the offensive tempo, is a strong possibility.

“Chud is a really bright guy, a really innovative guy,” Pagano said. “He understands personnel and he understands how defenses are going to attack.

“Chud believes in running the football. Fundamentals, techniques are very, very important.”

–The Colts rank 31st in the NFL with 19 giveaways this season.

–Indianapolis has averaged eight points per game in first halves this season. That’s the 30th lowest mark in the league.

–Over the past two games, the Colts have put together one first-down in the first quarter.

–In three career games vs. Denver, including playoffs, Luck is 2-1 with 863 passing yards and seven touchdown passes. He is looking for his fourth career game against the Broncos with two or more touchdown passes.

–Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (foot) reportedly underwent an MRI this week. He reportedly suffered a foot sprain in Monday night’s overtime loss at Carolina. Hilton, who did not practice Wednesday, incurred a bruised knee in the season opener at Buffalo but did not miss any playing time. Pagano said Wednesday that Hilton is still being evaluated.

–Center Khaled Holmes (burner/neck/shoulder) took part in the Colts’ Wednesday light practice. Holmes sat out last Monday night’s overtime loss at Carolina. He was hurt in the first half of the New Orleans game two weeks ago. Holmes’ status for Sunday’s game with Denver will be determined later this week.

–Inside linebacker Nate Irving (knee) sat out Wednesday’s workout. Irving continues to nurse his surgically-repaired knee, which he hurt last season while playing for Denver. He remains hopeful of being able to play Sunday.

–Safety Winston Guy (shoulder) participated in Wednesday’s light practice. Guy did not play at Carolina last Monday night. He was hurt against New Orleans two weeks ago. Guy is optimistic he will play Sunday.

–Cornerback Darius Butler (foot) did not practice on Wednesday. Butler tweaked his foot during the Carolina game last Monday night. He is expected to be available Sunday.


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