Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck celebrates after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Atlanta. Indianapolis Colts won 24-21. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman
December 14, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck hopes to be back on the practice field Wednesday.

On Monday, the Colts' franchise quarterback told reporters that as his workouts continued to intensify, he's hopeful of taking the next big step in his recovery from a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle.

''Throwing felt great. Conditioning-wise, it's a process,'' he said. ''When you take time off it takes a little more time to get back into it.''

The injuries have forced Luck to miss a career-high four consecutive games.

Team owner Jim Irsay acknowledged recently the Colts (6-7) hoped to have their star back for Sunday's key division game against Houston. But when coach Chuck Pagano announced Luck's injury status Nov. 10, he said Luck was expected to miss two to six weeks and that Luck would not return until he was completely healthy - something even Luck admitted Monday has not yet happened.

So far, there is no indication Luck will be cleared to play against his hometown Texans.

''Really no update, no change, heading in the right direction, feeling better, all that stuff,'' Pagano said, explaining that the team's medical staff had not informed him of any change in Luck's availability.

Luck's workload has steadily increased.

Two weeks ago, he told reporters he was throwing. Last week, he said he was running sprints after practice with teammates. On Monday, Luck said he had been lifting weights.

If he is allowed to practice this week, Luck would still need to be cleared to play in a game.

Without Luck, who also missed two games earlier this season with an injured throwing shoulder, the Colts have turned to 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, who is 4-2 as the starter.

But now the Colts are saying Hasselbeck has reinjured his ribs and he has his left arm in a sling to protect against spasms that have bothered him since he was first hurt against Pittsburgh on Dec. 6.

Will the circumstances - Hasselbeck's possible absence as the Colts try to take control of the AFC South - push Luck to rush back?

Luck and Pagano still say no.

''To me the situation has been urgent since Day 1, so I wouldn't say there's any more urgency than not,'' Luck said. ''In my mind, the urgency has not changed.''

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