KRAVITZ: The early returns on Luck's right shoulder: Fatigue, some soreness but...no pain

(WTHR Photo/Dave Calabro)
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Bob Kravitz

WESTFIELD – More good news out of Colts camp: After three days of training camp – two days of throwing and one day of practicing without throwing – Andrew Luck proclaimed Sunday morning that his right shoulder feels perfectly fine except for some expected soreness and fatigue.

Pain, though? None. No pain.

So no panic.

"Soreness, tiredness, for sure,'' he said late Sunday morning. "But no pain.''

True, Luck looked a bit rusty Thursday, as you might expect from someone who hasn't played football in 18 months. There were some scattered throws and an interception by rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, but Friday was better than Thursday and he's trending in the right direction.

"I had jitters (Thursday) like before a game for that first practice, which was a neat feeling,'' Luck said. "I hadn't felt that way in a long time, so that was really cool. I responded well. The name of the game for me is I've got to improve every day technique-wise. Some things looked pretty silly to me on film and then the second day, a little better. That's the approach.''

It's relatively simple and straightforward when Luck is throwing to a stationary receiver – he can concentrate on his throwing form, which has changed subtly from his pre-surgery days – but team drills are more of a test.

"It's a lot easier to focus on back foot and front arm and throwing and arm slot when you're throwing to a spot,'' he said. "Then it gets a little more difficult when you're throwing to a moving wide receiver and then 7-on-7 and then you put big guys in front of you and you're taking a snap, worried about blitzes and 'Oh, shoot, what was the play call again?', all those things, so trying to keep a calm mind and trying to translate the technique I want to use for those team situations and not revert back to old habits I'd built up.

"…The second day, things seemed to slow down a lot, 'Yeah, I remember this, I remember that,''' he said. "(On Thursday) I was nervous, excited. There was a certain element of the unknown. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. But it was also a lot of fun, being able to focus on getting better at practice and not just getting through practice and sort of surviving practice and surviving to the next one. But there were certain things that second day, I kind of settled in. There's a lot to think about as a quarterback but the more it's drilled into you instinctually, the faster you can play, the calmer you can be.''

More than anything, Luck needs work, lots of work. He spent time recently back in Palo Alto, California, throwing to Colts wideout Chester Rogers but he still needs to get in sync with the new receivers, notably tight end Eric Ebron and wide receiver Ryan Grant.

"He needs the reps,'' offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said. "It's been a year and a half, right? Just to continue to get reps and to steadily incline his progression and ability to see things. He's not going to get hit out here; we are going to do everything we can to not do that. Obviously, a lot of plays are similar with all different style of offense. Continue to get reps in plays that we specialize in, the plays that he likes, the plays that we like, and just see it and rep it over and over and over again.''

Luck was scheduled to throw during Sunday night's practice, will take off Monday with the rest of the team, then will resume throwing at practice Tuesday and Wednesday.

Luck was asked if he's truly let it "rip'' at any point so far in camp.

"Yeah, I think so, a couple of times,'' he said. "The second day, I felt very, very good about. 'Ripping' is a subjective term but I felt very good about some throws the second day – short, intermediate, deep' (where I'd think) 'I'd be happy with that in a game.''

The slow – really slow – comeback continues. So far, so good.

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