Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is inching his way closer to a return to regular-season action. Colts general manager Chris Ballard confirmed the team plans to have Luck practice this week.
"We'll slowly start working him back into practice this week," Ballard said on the Colts' radio show, per CBS 4's Mike Chappell. "We'll see how much he gets. But we've got a plan in place to where we want him to start getting him reps and then in time, as we can get him incorporated back into team work and all that, we'll get him back on the field."
Luck has been out of action since undergoing shoulder surgery in January.
Chappell wrote the earliest Luck could return is likely Oct. 22 against the Jacksonville Jaguars or Oct. 29 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The three-time Pro Bowler may need a few weeks of work on the practice field before he's ready to see game action.
Without Luck, the Colts are 1-3 to start the 2017 season. Scott Tolzien began the year as the starting quarterback, but Jacoby Brissett has been the starter for the last three weeks. Between the two, Indianapolis is 29th in passing yards per game (181) and 28th in team passer rating (71.6).
The longer Luck remains out, the lower the Colts' playoff odds become. Although nine wins may prove enough to win the AFC South for the third straight season, Indianapolis needs to win two-thirds of its remaining games just to reach that mark.
If Luck doesn't come back until Week 7 or 8, turning the team's season around may be a bridge too far.