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Andrew Luck still not ready going into camp

The Indianapolis Colts turned over a new leaf this offseason. After going through a miserable experience with general manager Ryan Grigson for five seasons, owner Jim Irsay finally ousted him in favor of Chris Ballard, a bright mind who came over from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ballard got right to work. He took highly-touted safety Malik Hooker out of Ohio State in the first round of the draft, and then nabbed corner Quincy Wilson in the second. This after a solid free agency which saw the signings of linebackers Sean Spence and John Simon, along with defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins.

However, none of it matters if Andrew Luck can’t play. Luck is starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List after having offseason shoulder surgery, something that isn’t a surprise but remains a concern. Indianapolis’ entire roster is geared around the former first-overall pick out of Stanford, and if he isn’t full strength or misses any regular season time, the Colts are up the proverbial creek. Still, Ballard maintains the process with Luck is going to plan, per ESPN:

“I want to make it clear that Andrew has not had any setbacks at all in his rehab process or with his surgery,” Ballard said. “He’s in good shape, good standing. Long term his shoulder, the prognosis is very good and that is very positive. We’re going to continue to follow the doctor’s orders and the rehab process.”

The biggest problem facing Ballard and his team is the offensive line. Ballard filled a lot of holes on the defensive side of the ball, but has yet to do much offensively. The line has a couple of solid interior players in guard Jack Mewhort and center Ryan Kelly, but the tackles remain a real concern. Anthony Castonzo has been a middling talent over the past few seasons, while right tackle is a gaping hole. LeRaven Clark and Denzelle Good are both in competition for the spot, but it is likely to be a struggle regardless of the starter.

If Luck can get healthy and stay that way, the Colts have a real shot to make some noise in the AFC playoff picture. Indianapolis doesn’t have the roster to compete with the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs come January, but it could win the AFC South. The Houston Texans are without a clear choice at quarterback, and while the Tennessee Titans are getting deserved love, they still have to prove plenty.

But it all starts with the right shoulder of No. 12. When will it be ready for action, and how long does it take for Luck to be right? The answer to those questions are the keys to Indianapolis’ fortunes.

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