The Colts are still targeting the final game of the regular season for the return of head coach Chuck Pagano leading the team on the sideline. Interim head coach Bruce Arians said Monday he hopes Pagano can return to the Colts complex full-time starting Christmas Eve. That would give Pagano a full-week of preparation for the December 30th game against the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"It would be a great Christmas present for all of us," said Arians. "That's what our goal is. Hopefully he can start (next) Monday."
Pagano has completed three rounds of chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. He has attended the past three Colts home games, watching from Colts owner Jim Irsay's suite.
"He feels great," said Arians. "And he looks good. His (blood cell) counts are good. We have our fingers crossed."
Pagano left his coaching duties in September. Unexplained bruising led him to consult doctors, who diagnosed Pagano with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the bone marrow. Most adults with this form of leukemia achieve complete remission after treatment.
The Colts have left the light on in Pagano's office at the complex since his leave from the team. The Colts are 8-2 under Arian's leadership. The team made it a goal to reach the playoffs and extend the season long enough so Pagano could return to coaching. Arians has made it clear that when Pagano returns, the head coach will resume full control of the team. Arians says the team should know by the end of this week if Pagano is ready to resume his head coaching duties.
The Colts play the Chiefs in Kansas City this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. A victory clinches a playoff spot. The Chiefs are just 2-12, worst record in the NFL.
"Every game from here on out is extra important," said defensive end Cory Redding. "We all know that. It's a two game season."