Colts lose Luck to injuries
NDIANAPOLIS — Two days after celebrating their biggest win of the season, the Indianapolis Colts dealt with their biggest loss.
Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck is expected to miss at least two to six weeks with a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle, injuries he sustained late in Sunday's victory over Denver.
"When you take a hit to a franchise quarterback, it is a tough blow," coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday. "We've been through a lot in this 2015 season, but I know this will galvanize us even more."
Pagano said he believed Luck was injured in the first minute of the fourth quarter when he tried to scramble for a first down near the Denver goal line. Linebacker Danny Trevathan squared up on Luck from the front while defensive end Vance Walker hit Luck hard on the side of his left shoulder, bending him over awkwardly.
The hit drew immediately drew gasps inside Lucas Oil Stadium. But Luck broke the 17-17 tie on the next play with an 8-yard pass to Ahmad Bradshaw, his second TD throw of the game. He never came out and continued to take some big hits.
Afterward, Pagano said, Luck complained of soreness. When he arrived at the team complex Monday feeling worse, Luck was sent for additional tests that revealed the injuries. Luck is not expected to need surgery. He was not available in the locker room Monday and did not mention any potential injury in his postgame news conference.
The six-week timetable could be aggressive because the Colts will be cautious about bringing Luck back.
"We're going to keep listening to the doctors and evaluating his progress on a week-by-week basis," Pagano said. "We've got all the confidence in the world in Matt Hasselbeck and we're not going to put Andrew back out there until he's healed and ready to go."
The timing couldn't be worse for Indianapolis (4-5), which was hoping to return form this week's bye and build momentum with a favorable schedule. Instead, one week after firing offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and replacing him with Rob Chudzinski, the Colts are now forced into making a quarterback change.
The 40-year-old Hasselbeck takes over, as he did last month when Luck missed two games with an injured right shoulder. Hasselbeck won both.
Hasselbeck was 48 of 76 with 495 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in his only action this season, and having a bye week to work with Chudzinski could help make the transition smoother.
STEELERS: Despite what Ben Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin does not anticipate his injured quarterback playing against the Cleveland Browns and will plan to start Landry Jones on Sunday at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger said Tuesday there is a possibility he could play against the Browns after sustaining a mid-foot sprain in the 38-35 victory against the Oakland Raiders. Tomlin said he will “leave the door ajar” for a possible return by Roethlisberger, but quickly added, “It’s just slightly ajar.”
Then Tomlin added: “We anticipate playing without him and playing with Landry. From a playing standpoint, much like a couple weeks ago (when Roethlisberger’s knee was injured), we’re preparing to play with Landry.”
Roethlisberger is expected to miss at least one game and, depending how quickly he heals, possibly another following the bye week.