The AFC South became an even more cluttered mess on Tuesday after it was announced that Andrew Luck, star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, has a lacerated kidney which could keep him out of action for as many as six weeks.
If the situation between those in charge of the Colts organization and head coach Chuck Pagano was strained and uneasy, this event - that leaves the team without Luck’s services for up to five games (as they are now on their bye week) - could add to speculation there will be a change on the sidelines after the season.
It also means the worst division in football has been thrown wide open, with Jacksonville, Houston and Tennessee all able to make up ground on the division leader in the next month if they can string a run of performances together.
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According to NFL.com, the team says the injuries will not require surgery and a full recovery is expected.
Luck's season has been the worst of his career as he has been dealing with injuries and forcing far too many throws, which has led to him having the second most interceptions in the NFL so far this season. The Colts were able to hand Denver its first loss of the season on Sunday night, coming through with a 27-24 victory.
Gregg Rosenthal, who wrote the story for NFL.com, said the Colts have the relative luxury of a quality backup quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck. He helped the team win two games and played very well when replacing Luck earlier in the season when he was out with a shoulder injury.
At 4-5 on the season, the Colts are first in the division. The hope is Hasselbeck, who has started in Luck's absence this season, will be called upon to lead the team again. The 40-year-old quarterback is 2-0 in his two starts this season.
This was supposed to be a season where the Colts took another step towards the Super Bowl, after making it all the way to the AFC championship game before losing to the New England Patriots.
Indianapolis has been a team in turmoil since the beginning of the season because of issues between Pagano and management, namely general manager Ryan Grigson, and both will have their jobs under threat at the end of the season whether the Colts make the playoffs or not.
The Colts will hope that as their fixture list is not too difficult in the coming weeks with Luck out, Hasselbeck can steer them to couple of victories and keep them atop the AFC South.
That would then allow Luck to return and find his rhythm in the final few weeks of the regular season heading into the playoffs, and who knows, once in the playoffs, there may even be the possibility of another AFC title game this year.
Who will win the AFC South after Andrew Luck's injury? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below
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