WESTFIELD, Ind. — The “jitters” were mixed with excitement, some bad throws and moments when Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck even looked pretty “silly” when he watched himself on film after his first training camp practice in two years.
But through it all — the rustiness, the soreness and the timing issues — there haven’t been any setbacks in Luck’s return from right shoulder surgery in January 2017.
“Jitters like before a game for that first practice. Haven’t felt that way in a long time,” Luck said about his first training camp since 2016. “Responding well. Name of the game for me is to improve every day. Feeling-wise. Technique-wise.”
Luck practiced fully during the first two days of training camp before being limited to just handing the ball off and doing moving-in-the-pocket drills without throwing Saturday as part of a rest day with his arm that was preplanned heading into training camp. The Colts are keeping a close eye on Luck throughout the entire process.
A significant sign for Luck is that he said he had not experienced any pain in his shoulder.
“Soreness, tiredness, for sure, and stresses on my arm that are different,” he said. “Stresses on, shoot, everybody’s body at this camp that are different … and being able to recover, and get ready for the next one, and use the sort of days I’m not throwing at practice, lifting, training day, I still very much believe in that to get me to the point where I want to be, feeling-wise.”
It’s like a school session for Luck. He’s familiar with receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle, but he’s learning new coach Frank Reich’s offense along with new key skill position players like receiver Ryan Grant and tight end Eric Ebron.
“He needs the reps. He needs to get reps every single day,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said. “We have a lot of the same concepts that he’s had in the past here, but we also have new concepts. He’s got to see some of the new concepts. He’s got to even get the old concepts that he may have a limited amount of reps on, like 100 reps on. He still has to see those just to get them back into his muscle memory and to get him back seeing the field again and everything like that. It really is day by day.”
Luck will practice in full pads during the team’s night practice Sunday. He will practice Tuesday and Wednesday after the day off Monday before taking on a lighter load again Thursday. Barring any kind of setback, Luck will still play in the preseason opener against Seattle on Aug. 9.
“I went into this from the start, he was full go, fully cleared for everything,” Reich said. “We have some planned rest days, but in my mind the amount he plays, he’s 100 percent in my mind. Sure he’s getting better and we’re all making progress, but we’ll plan him playing accordingly based on how much we would want to play our starting quarterback. And maybe a little bit more just because he didn’t play last year, but I don’t think astronomically more than we would have.”