Andrew Luck's road to recovery took a notable step forward.
The Indianapolis Colts' franchise QB played in his first actual football game in 585 days on Thursday, in the team's preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, and the results were encouraging.
Luck's statistics in two series of work were modest but solid: 6-of-9 passing for 64 yards, leading two scoring drives before giving way to backup Jacoby Brissett. If you're the Colts, you'll take that all day long.
It wasn't long ago that we had no idea whether Luck's shoulder ever would be the same or if he was even on track to play in the preseason. Now here we are, and Luck certainly looked the part in his brief debut — the first time he played in any game action since Jan. 1, 2017.
Luck threw mostly short, but he did so with rhythm and confidence. He even passed a huge test by taking a pop from Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner and bouncing right back up. Imagine the breath-holding that went on in that moment by Colts head coach Frank Reich and GM Chris Ballard.
Nothing against Brissett, who reportedly has had a fantastic camp, but the Colts need Luck to keep stacking impressive showings such as this, tapering up to the regular season. Getting him back would be a franchise-changing development.
The next month certainly will be interesting as his work load is carefully monitored. Losing an entire season following shoulder surgery, compounded by Luck's clear bouts of frustration with how his rehab was derailed a year ago, was bad enough. Now the Colts need to find a way to get him the requisite work to be ready for the Week 1 opener against the Bengals while also preserving him.
Reich did have Luck in empty sets, and he did scramble on that Wagner hit, so it's not as if they're bubble-wrapping the guy, even with a brief debut. It was a perfect start for Luck and the Colts, it appears, and everyone can say a tiny prayer that things are ... so far, so good.