Whether Luck was healthy from the beginning of the season or not, the Colts were still going to slog through a tough 2017.
The Indianapolis Colts put Luck on injured reserve Thursday, marking the end of his season and the beginning of a different rehab program that team officials believe will get their star quarterback on the field next fall.
Luck has been dealing with a shoulder injury, undergoing surgery in January and not playing in any games this season.
Luck did return to practice in October, but after two weeks, the team "shut down" their franchise quarterback's throwing due to lingering soreness and inflammation in his shoulder.
For Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the injury guarantees in his 2016 contract extension matter, since there's now no guarantee he'll ever play again. Career-ending is putting him out on the field before he's ready to play. They're now 2-6.
The Colts, who are just 2-6 without Luck, have seen second-year passer Jacoby Brissett start the past seven games.
Instead, Colts fans will have to wait until hopefully 2018 to see Luck return to the field-having not played in an National Football League game since last January, with obviously this latest disappointing injury development.
Indianapolis stated there would be no extra surgery for Luck, but just rest and rehab.
Ballard's opening statement during Thursday's press conference began with nine words about the IR move coming for Luck.
The 2012 quarterback class that included Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson once seemed destined for all-time greatness. That's fair because Ballard was always measured in his Luck comments and things can change when the recovery timetable is thrown off-track after injured players suffer setbacks in rehabilitation.
The Colts in the meantime have leaned on backup Jacoby Brissett, who hasn't been bad. The doctors have told the Colts to have patience with the rehab process, he said.
Inside the locker room, Luck's teammates understand why he won't be back.
As for Luck, he said that he'll come out of all this as a better quarterback.