Colts QB Luck Nervous about Playing First NFL Action in 19 Months

andrew-luck-wont-play-2018Andrew Luck hasn’t played a snap of NFL regular season football for 19 months. The Indianapolis Colts franchise quarterback hurt his shoulder during the 2016 season and has been sidelined for a year and a half.

The good news is that Luck up is finally healthy and ready to play again. The bad news is that he’s nervous about getting back on the football field after so much downtime. Let’s discuss what he had to say along with the Colts’ prospects for the 2018 NFL season.

What’s the Shoulder Injury that Has Kept Luck Sidelined?

Andrew Luck has always been considered a quarterback who can lead Indianapolis to great things. And he definitely lived up to this billing during the first few seasons of his career, leading the Colts to identical 11-win seasons from 2012 to 2014.

andrew-luck-coltsIndianapolis won the AFC South each year and also made the playoffs every season in that span. This being said, it only felt right to give him a huge contract in 2016 when the time came.

Unfortunately for Luck, his health has been the opposite of his name. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2016 and missed the entire 2017 campaign when he had a number of mysterious setbacks.

Some wondered if he would ever get back on the field at full strength. But many reports so far indicate that he’s throwing the ball well and should reclaim his former glory.

Luck Has Jitters about Playing Again

The last time that Luck played an NFL regular season game was on New Year’s Day 2017, when Indianapolis beat the Jacksonville Jaguars to finish 8-8.

andrew-luck-playoffsWhen asked by SI’s Peter King about his feeling before the season, Luck said, “Nervous? I’ll be very nervous.”

He added, “I’m just going out there throwing balls. There is nothing holding me back.

“There are some things that feel really good, like an old sweatshirt that you put on that just fits well. And there are some things that still feel awkward and new and wobbly, per se.”

How will Luck Perform in 2019?

Many speculate that Luck is destined for more success in 2018 thanks to an overhaul of the coaching staff. Frank Reich has taken over for fired head coach Chuck Pagano, while Nick Sirianni will serve as the new offensive coordinator.

Their off-season goal for Luck will be starting out slowly and steadily increasing his passing workload. He’s only making about half as many passes as a normal NFL starter would in training camp. But he’s going full speed with strength and agility drills in the meantime.

andrew-luckThe idea here is to bring Luck’s confidence and shoulder along slowly so that he’s fully ready by the beginning of the regular season. While it’s good that he playing without pain again, it’s anybody’s guess as to what kind of season Luck will have.

When healthy, the 28-year-old is a Pro Bowl quarterback who’s capable of carrying Indianapolis to victory. He showed this during the aformentioned stretch where the Colts won their division three years in a row.

That said, it’s no surprise Reich and Sirianni want to avoid any setbacks with Luck so that he’s ready by the start of the season.

Colts 2018 Odds for AFC Championship and Super Bowl

Indianapolis hasn’t made the playoffs for three straight years. Not coincidentally, the past three years have also seen Luck plagued by injuries.

His shoulder problems began towards the end of 2015 and carried on into the 2016 campaign. It’s at this point that he elected to end the season with shoulder surgery.

Luck didn’t take a single snap in 2017, which is a big reason why the team only finished 4-12. But as long as he’s able to play, they should at least improve upon this total.

Here the GTBets odds for each AFC South team heading into the season:

  • Jacksonville +150
  • Houston +190
  • Tennessee +390
  • Indianapolis +550

andrew-luck-injury-return-2017As you can see, there is a new projected king of the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars are fresh off an AFC Championship appearance. And they’ll be looking to win their division for the second straight season.

Both Houston and Tennessee are also ahead of the Colts in terms of odds. But this isn’t to say that Indianapolis is a guaranteed cellar dweller.

Much of their low ranking has to do with the fact that they’re entering 2018 with a fresh look. Nobody really knows what to expect from them due to the new coaching staff and a rusty Luck.

That said, it’ll be interesting to see how this season plays out for the Colts. It’ll also be intriguing to watch how Luck bounces back from not playing football for so long.

Coach Thibodeau Believes LeBron Makes LA a Title Contender

minnesota-tom-thibodeauMany are wondering how good the LA Lakers can be this season. After all, they added LeBron James and a few veterans to a good young core.

We’ve covered one set of projections that has the Lakers barely missing out on the playoffs. But others think that LA will do much better than this and even challenge for the NBA title.

Count Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau is one person who thinks that the Lakers are set for a very good season. See what the head coach has to say below along with more on how high this team can climb.

Thibodeau Sees LeBron and Lakers as Instant Contenders

Thibodeau spoke briefly with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk on the Lakers. And he only had good things to say about his future Western Conference rivals.

“Any time a player like that comes to the West, particularly him, obviously if you got LeBron, you are an instant contender,” he said.

Few would know what it’s like matching up against James better than Thibodeau. He designed gameplans to stop LeBron many times as an assistant with the Boston Celtics and head coach of the Chicago Bulls. He’ll now see LeBron multiple times each year again while coaching the T-Wolves.

Lakers and Timberwolves Part of a Crowded West

lebron-james-lakersThe Minnesota Timberwolves earned the eighth seed in the Western Conference after winning 47 games. That said, LeBron improving the Lakers causes problems for Thibodeau and the rest of the conference.

The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Los Angeles Clippers all figure to contend for a postseason spot. Add in the Lakers, T-Wolves, and even a healthy Memphis Grizzlies squad, and this makes 12 teams battling for a playoff berth.

Outside of the Warriors and Rockets, nobody seems to be guaranteed anything in the West. This will once again be a more competitive conference than the East.

Speaking of which, LeBron has had an easier ride the past several years while playing in the Eastern Conference. It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with all of the threats out West on a nightly basis.

It’s very possible that his streak of making eight straight NBA Finals appearances could be in jeopardy this season. But based on his immense talent along with the rest of the Lakers roster, don’t expect his bid for a ninth straight Finals to end before the postseason.