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Jim Irsay: Andrew Luck will be back this season

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Andrew Luck will be back before the end of the season.

Speaking on NFL Network's GameDay First on Sunday morning, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said Colts owner Jim Irsay told him the team's franchise star -- who has been sitting with a lacerated kidney and shoulder issues -- should return for a Week 16 matchup against the Dolphins in Miami.

The only question now is, will that game be for a playoff spot? Can the Colts fend off the Texans long enough to make this worthwhile?

Matt Hasselbeck has been phenomenal in relief. The 40-year-old has not lost a start yet this season and, according to his offensive coordinator, he's playing with the vigor of a rookie again.

"He's playing like a 22-year-old in terms of his excitement and passion to play," Rob Chudzinski said Thursday, via the team's official website. "I can't say enough about him and his performance."

Despite all that, coach Chuck Pagano made one thing clear: Luck was going to be his starter again when he's ready.

There aren't many who would argue this, and Luck definitely has that special something that can advance the Colts beyond one round of the playoffs. His regression this year was largely health related, and allowing him time to clear up, or at least temporarily mend any issues, could be Indianapolis' best shot at playing deep into January.

Week 15 is crucial in that it gives Luck more than one warmup game should Indianapolis make the postseason.

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