Colts' Luck gets doctors' clearance to practice

INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck is expected to return to practice Wednesday after being cleared by team doctors.

Coach Chuck Pagano provided the latest update about 75 minutes before the Indianapolis Colts were scheduled to work out. Luck would do limited practicing, then have rehab on Thursday and work out again Friday.

It's been a long process.

Indy's franchise quarterback had surgery in January to repair a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. During the recovery, Luck missed all of the team's offseason workouts, all of training camp, the entire preseason and the Colts' first four regular-season games. He's already been ruled out of Sunday's game against San Francisco.

Pagano has not said when Luck might return to game action.

But Pagano said last week that Luck would probably start out working with the Colts' scout team.

Without the three-time Pro Bowler, the Colts (1-3) have struggled.

Backup Scott Tolzien was benched after throwing two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in a season-opening loss to the Rams. New starter Jacoby Brissett had an interception and a fumble returned for touchdowns Sunday night in Seattle, and his interception on the first play of overtime set up Arizona's winning field goal in Week 2.

Still, the Colts refuse to rush Luck.

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He opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list and wasn't activated until Sept. 2, the same day the Colts acquired Brissett in a trade from New England.

For weeks, fans wondered aloud when Luck would return to the field. Pagano finally provided a glimmer of hope last week when he said there was "a chance" Luck would practice over the next few days. But Luck was not cleared.

Monday night on a local radio show, general manager Chris Ballard again stoked excitement when he said the team had a plan to get Luck some reps this week.

Pagano opened his news conference Wednesday by confirming the long-awaited news: Luck had been given the OK to practice.

The top pick in the 2012 draft started the first 55 games of his career, including the playoffs, and went to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons.

Then he hurt the shoulder in a September 2015 come-from-behind victory at Tennessee and wound up missing nine games that season -- the last seven because of a lacerated kidney.

Indy tried to keep Luck healthy in 2016 by giving him extra days off during the week, and he responded with the best statistical season of his career. He completed 63.5 percent of his passes, threw for 4,240 yards with 31 TDs and 13 interceptions while missing one game with a concussion.

After the season, Luck opted for surgery because he was still having pain in the shoulder.

Luck was expected to take questions for the first time since July 29 following Wednesday's practice.