Reich's comments confirm what general manager Chris Ballard announced a week prior; essentially, Luck's rehab program for his surgically repaired shoulder continues to move along slowly but steadily as he inches closer to throwing again. While it's expected that Luck will start a throwing program soon, there isn't any official timetable for that to happen, which puts his availability for the start of the Colts' offseason workouts in the spring into question. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Luck has recently been in California meeting with throwing experts, who have been monitoring the progress of his recovery.
Sheard is expected to move from outside linebacker to defensive end with newly hired defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus planning to implement a speed-based, 4-3 defensive scheme, Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Eberflus' scheme calls for the defensive front to provide more pressure on quarterbacks and limit big plays, something that wasn't asked of the Colts' linemen as often in the 3-4 setup used under recently fired head coach Chuck Pagano. In the new one-gap line arrangement, Johnathan Hankins is expected to slide over from defensive end to defensive tackle, opening up a spot on the edge for Sheard. The 28-year-old Sheard is coming off a 2017 season in which he recorded 52 stops (37 solo), his highest total since 2012, his second season in the NFL. The presumed move to the line will minimize the tackle opportunities available for Sheard, though he could notice an uptick in the 5.5 sacks he registered last season; over his career, Sheard has delivered three seven-plus sack campaigns, all of which came under coordinators who favored 4-3 defenses.
Hooker (knee) is not using crutches but still has no timetable for his return, Mike Wells of ESPN.com reports.
Hooker underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in early November and has apparently been moving without crutches for several months at this point. The Colts are likely to wait until further along in the 21-year-old's recovery process before providing any sort of firm timetable for his return.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard addressed Luck's rehab during a press conference Wednesday and downplayed speculation that the health of the quarterback's right shoulder played a role in Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' decision to withdraw his acceptance of Indianapolis' head-coaching vacancy, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports. "Let's talk about Andrew because there's a lot of rumors," Ballard said. "I'm going to listen to the doctors that he's talking to and dealing with, and I'm going to listen to the guy that is training him right now. And, at this point, we feel very strongly that Andrew's in a good place. He doesn't need surgery -- I have not gotten that from the two doctors that he's seen after the season. His strength is good. He's working on his throw motion and he's working on his arm speed right now. He has not picked up a football, but he's throwing balls, working on arm speed. He's not going to skip a step...he's going to do everything right to get himself ready to play. And I'm very confident -- he's very confident -- that he's going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong."
After playing through an injury to his labrum during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Luck underwent surgery last January with the hope he would enter the 2017 campaign at full strength. That never came to fruition, however, as Luck made limited progress in his recovery in the months that followed before being shuttered for good in November when his shoulder responded poorly to light throwing. Following his shutdown, Luck headed to Europe for additional treatment, with the Colts announcing shortly thereafter that a follow-up surgery wouldn't be necessary for the franchise signal caller. While Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported Sunday that doctors who have examined Luck still have concerns about his shoulder, Ballard's comments suggest that at least within the organization, there isn't as much worry regarding Luck's health outlook for 2018. Regardless, Luck will need to get back on the field and throw without discomfort at some point during the offseason before there can be any optimism that his lingering shoulder woes are firmly in the rear-view mirror.
Adams, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft by the Vikings, was waived in late October and joined the team's practice squad shortly thereafter for the remainder of the season. He'll now spend the offseason with the Colts and have the opportunity to earn a spot on their final roster during training camp.