Thursday, November 12, 2015

In luck. Or not.

Well, at least it wasn't a lacerated kidney or anything.

Oh ... wait ...

Oh, wait, because that's all Andrew Luck can do, now that he's sidelined by the sort of injury people used to sustain only in high-speed car crashes. If there was any doubt previously that the level of violence in today's NFL is pushing the limit of what the human body can withstand, it's what happened last Sunday, when Luck was slammed to the Lucas Oil Stadium turf with sufficient force to lacerate a kidney. And we're left to wonder if Luck's previous injuries -- i.e., the cracked ribs no one wants to talk about  -- either contributed to the latest injury, or out-and-out caused it.

It's a toxic equation the NFL presents these days: Young men too tough for their own good (and no one's tougher than Luck) plus ever-escalating foot-pounds of force equals ever-escalating injuries, in both frequency and severity. You wonder how much longer this can be sustained.

What you don't wonder, in Luck's specific case, is whether or not he will be back. Again, he's a tough kid. And so while the Colts' hopeful estimate that he'll be out a month seems optimistic given projections that it takes an average of two months for a lacerated kidney to heal, expect to see Luck on the field again before the season's out.

Whether or not he should be is another question entirely.

Here's the thing: Even without Luck, Indy's situation is hardly dire. Matt Hasselbeck is 2-0 this year subbing for Luck. And he's going to win a few more now, because what lies ahead is hardly Everest.

The Colts' final seven opponents, after all, have a won-loss record of 24-34. Throw out Atlanta and Pittsburgh, and it's 13-27.

So they'll be fine. In fact, you can pencil them into the playoffs right now, given that they play in the AFC South, an NFL division in theory only. You go 6-10 there, and you make the playoffs laughing.

The Colts, at 4-5, will clear that standard easily. And so the question becomes, how eager should the Colts be to rush Luck back onto the field?

Arguably, he's already taken the worst hammering of any QB in the league this year. That has a cumulative effect. And so if Hasselbeck's got them humming, why push your luck with Luck?

Of course, if Hasselbeck goes down ...

Well. Let's not dynamite that bridge 'til we come to it.


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