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Colts hope Chuck Pagano back on sideline by Christmas

The Indianapolis Colts continue to plan for coach Chuck Pagano to return to the team after months of leukemia treatment. The organization hopes Pagano can be back for the Dec. 30 season-finale against the Houston Texans.

"(It's) still up in the air," interim coach Bruce Arians said Monday, the Indianapolis Star reported. "Later this week, hopefully, we'll be able to know something for sure.

"(He) feels great. Looks good. (Blood) counts were good. We've got our fingers crossed."

Arians would like to see Pagano back for Monday preparation before the Texans game. That's six days away.

"The perfect timing would be (for Pagano to) come in Christmas Eve," Arians said. "It would be a great Christmas present for all of us.

"That's what our goal is. Hopefully he can start Monday."

Pagano was diagnosed during the Colts' Week 4 bye. He's made a couple of appearances in the Colts locker room and attended a few games, but Pagano is in constant contact with Arians and regularly texts players. The entire Indianapolis community has rallied around the Chuckstrong campaign. His return would be the perfect ending to an extremely emotional regular season.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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