NFL AM: Andrew Luck Limited By Shoulder Injury


Andrew Luck limited with shoulder injury:

One of the top story lines for many early in this 2015 season has been the struggles of Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck. While Luck has thrown seven interceptions to five touchdowns over the first three games of the season, much of the concern over his play has been overblown.

We learned something that can’t be overstated or overblown. Luck was limited in practice on Wednesday with right shoulder pain.

While the Colts aren’t the least bit concerned that Luck will miss any time, any concern over a quarterbacks throwing shoulder is a concern that can’t be taken lightly.

Because of his early season struggles, Luck’s being limited in practice immediately had some asking whether or not he had been dealing with an injury since the beginning of the season. A question that Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano answered with just two words, “absolutely not.”

Pagano went on to express complete confidence that Luck wouldn’t miss any time with the injury.

“I wouldn’t bet against 12 ever,” Pagano said. “Supreme confidence that he’ll play.”

Luck’s words were every bit as confident as his coach’s. While the starting quarterback may have been limited in practice on Wednesday, there’s no concern that he’ll miss this Sunday’s game.

“I fully expect to play Sunday against Jacksonville,” Luck remarked when asked about showing up on the injury report for the first time in his career.

Veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck also showed very little concern that he might be thrust into action this weekend when speaking about Luck’s injury.

“I’m sure (Andrew) will be fine tomorrow,” Hasselbeck said. “Probably not the first time they’ve tried to rest him, just the first time he’s let them.”

Luck’s shoulder may not be a real concern right now, but any setback could be a major problem for the Colts who have started the season 1-2 and barely eked out a 35-33 victory over the Tennessee Titans Sunday.

We’ve seen Peyton Manning deal with diminished arm strength due to a neck injury, and he’s had to rely on his football savvy and experience to help lift him past his physical deficiencies. It’s unclear if Luck could do the same at this point in his career and with the supporting cast he has in Indianapolis. Hopefully for the Colts, we won’t have to find out.

Victor Cruz aggravates calf injury:

On Tuesday, New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz expressed extreme confidence that he’d return to the field against the Buffalo Bills Sunday after missing the team’s first three games with a calf injury.

On Wednesday, that confidence turned to doubt when Cruz hit the practice field.

Cruz was limited in practice as he tweaked his hamstring during individual work, ending his day and likely his chances of returning to the field this Sunday.  Head coach Tom Coughlin, who dealt with a similarly frustrating lingering injury to star receiver Odell Beckham Jr just a season ago, was very short in his explanation of what happened with Cruz, likely a sign of Coughlin’s frustration with once again having to answer when one of his top targets will return to the field.

“Victor came out and tried to do individuals. He felt the calf again and that’s all he did,” Coughlin said.

The Giants worked out pass catching options like Hakeem Nicks, Wes Welker and tight end Chris Cooley this week. You’d have to assume Cruz’s setback would only make them more likely to sign another option for Eli Manning to look for as the depth is very thin after Beckham Jr, and Rueben Randle until Cruz returns.

Drew Brees throwing again for Saints, restructures contract:

There are very few situations in football that seem more desperate than that of Drew Brees in New Orleans. It sounds crazy to be talking about a former Super Bowl winning MVP quarterback, but the signs are everywhere that Brees is nearing the end of his run with the Saints.

Because of the Saints 0-3 start and his clearly uncertain future, there’s no surprise that Brees is in a rush to get on the field.

“I’ll see how the shoulder responds tomorrow and the rest of the day, but each day I’m able to do more,” Brees explained Wednesday.

For their part, the Saints don’t seem any more patient about the injury than Brees. Saints head coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that it’s safe to assume his starting quarterback would be throwing every day.

“It’s safe to say he is going to throw every day now,” Payton told the media Wednesday.

One has to wonder if the team might be a little more patient with Brees’ injury if the team didn’t view this year as the end, or at least the beginning of the end for him in New Orleans.

The Saints restructured Brees’ contract Wednesday, freeing up 2.6 million in cap space by turning 5.2 million of Brees’ base salary into a signing bonus. As a result of the restructure, Brees’ cap hit in 2016 was bumped to 30 million dollars, a number the Saints likely won’t be willing to meet to keep the veteran quarterback around.

Before next season, the Saints and Brees will have to sit down and work out an extension for the quarterback who is as large a figure as there is in the history of Saints football, or decide to move on.

There’s little to no chance New Orleans takes a 30 million dollar cap hit for Brees next season, so the remainder of this season will largely determine whether he has another year or two in the Fleur-de-lis.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.