INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich believes his starting quarterback will soon be throwing.
Andrew Luck will get the last word on when it happens.
Luck continues to rehabilitate from shoulder surgery that took place more than 16 months ago, cost him all of last season and almost all of this year's offseason workouts. The Colts will hold a three-day mandatory mini-camp next week, and he's not expected to throw then, either.
But he has been working out at the team complex since April, has attended team and position meetings and been learning Reich's new offense. The hope is he will start throwing sometime between mid-June and late July when the Colts report to training camp.
"I think we're real close. Again, I've never been through what he has been through. I could sit here and say what I think but It has to come from down in here," Reich said, pointing to his heart. "There's an instinct as a player that you know when you're ready to go and you keep testing it and testing it and you work with the people you're working with and you trust your instinct when you're ready to go."
The optimism sounds all too familiar to skeptical Colts' fans.
They repeatedly heard similar comments from then coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Chris Ballard after Luck had surgery for his partially torn labrum in January 2017. Yet he didn't begin throwing until early October, was shut down after two weeks because of lingering soreness in his right shoulder.
He missed all 16 games and spent the last month of season rehabbing in Europe.
Luck has continued recovering this offseason while Ballard and Reich have continued to suggest this time will be different. One indication the Colts expect Luck to come back came on draft weekend when they had a franchise-record 11 selections in the seven-round draft era and didn't take a quarterback.
Still, Luck will have the final say about the timing of his return.
"He certainly has a big say in it. He has to," said Reich, a former NFL quarterback. "Got to trust the player. Really, any player who's injured goes through the same thing. The doctors kind of give the thumbs up and there's a lot to say and you get the tests and you feel all that stuff, but at the end of the day the player's got to feel ready to go. That's been my experience at every position."
Luck hasn't spoken to reporters since early April.
Back then, he said he felt good and hoped he would be full-go for training camp.
So do those around him.
"We feel really good and really confident with where we're at," Reich said.
Recently signed defensive end Chris McCain also missed Thursday's workout and it's unclear when he'll return.
The Indianapolis Star and Los Angeles Times reporter earlier this week that McCain faces two misdemeanor battery charges in California stemming from an alleged incident on Jan. 7, when he was still a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. He is accused of spitting on and grabbing the neck of Arpi Davtyan, The Star reported.
McCain, who has denied the charges, is scheduled to be arraigned July 13.
It's unclear if the Colts knew about the allegations when they signed McCain. The team issued a statement Tuesday, saying it was still gathering information.
"We sat down with Chris and we just all agreed that this would be the best thing," Reich said Thursday explaining McCain and the Colts mutually agreed he should return home until there is a resolution. "Felt like it was best that we get this thing settled and work through it. I feel comfortable with that."