INDIANAPOLIS — Three days after taking 16 hits, Andrew Luck missed Wednesday’s practice with a sore throwing shoulder.
Luck said it was just sore, downplaying the obvious concern his absence will raise among fans. He said he hopes to return to practice Thursday and plans to play Sunday as the Colts try to avoid their first 0-3 start in five years, when San Diego comes to town.
“It was a physical game, like any football game, so the coaches and training staff thought it was best if I didn’t go out on the field,” he told reporters, acknowledging he didn’t practice at all Wednesday.
The Colts have already been hit hard by injuries, mostly on defense, but this could be the toughest one yet.
Last season, Luck got hurt in September and wound up missing nine games with multiple injuries, including a lacerated kidney that kept him out of the last seven games. Even when Luck did play in 2015, he didn’t look right, going 2-5 and throwing 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The Colts responded by using four of their eight draft picks to revamp the offensive line, which so far has had mixed results.
In a season-opening loss, the Colts’ offensive line allowed two sacks and five hits.
In the Week 2 loss at Denver, Luck was sacked five times, threw an interception that was returned for one touchdown and lost a fumble that was returned for another.
Luck didn’t say when he was injured in the game, but at that pace, Luck would be sacked 56 times and take an additional 128 hits.
Earlier this year, Luck and coach Chuck Pagano said there was a plan to help Luck stay healthy this season, and that it could lead to Luck appearing on injury reports periodically. He’s already shown up three times as a limited participant this season.
This absence was not by design.
“I don’t raise the alarms, that’s you guys,” Luck said, drawing laughter from reporters. “I’ll come in tomorrow and defer to the coaches and training staff and we’ll see.”
Luck said Wednesday is normally the day the Colts normally install the bulk of their game plan, but he said he didn’t believe it would affect him much if he does play Sunday.
Pagano did not talk about Luck’s injury before practice and will not be available again until Friday. Indy’s offensive and defensive coordinators are scheduled to talk Thursday.
If Luck can’t play, the Colts would start Scott Tolzien — the only other quarterback on their active roster. Tolzien made his only two starts in Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers was injured during the 2013 season. They also have Stephen Morris on the practice squad.