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Luck hopeful to practice this week, play this season

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Though he does not feel 100 percent yet, Andrew Luck told reporters on Monday that his goal was to start practicing this week and did not rule out a possible appearance against the Texans on Sunday in Indianapolis.

The Colts, fresh off a thrashing at the hands of the Jaguars in which they gave up more than 50 points, are in rough shape and have lost two in a row. They are currently tied atop the AFC South with Houston, but the Jaguars are fast approaching.

"Hopefully," Luck said when asked if he would practice this week. "Definitely that's the goal."

This has been a bizarre stretch for the Colts, who have endured multiple reports suggesting Luck could miss the entire season because of a lacerated kidney and partial abdominal muscle tear he suffered on Nov. 8. Owner Jim Irsay told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport a few weeks back that Luck would be back before the end of the regular season. Luck attempted to clear up any confusion on that matter by firmly telling reporters that he plans to play this season.

On Monday, Pagano said he hasn't heard anything from team regarding Luck returning to practice this week or whether he might play Sunday. Luck has not been cleared to practice or play by the team's medical staff.

Pagano stressed the hope is that Matt Hasselbeck will be ready to play. The 40-year-old quarterback suffered injured ribs against the Jaguars. This was a week after he sustained shoulder and neck injuries against the Steelers. Per Rapoport, Hasselbeck's injuries were purely soft tissue issues -- no bone fractures -- but he is still sore.

Pagano said Hasselbeck is currently wearing a sling on his left arm to prevent muscle spasms he's been dealing with and that the team should have a better idea of his Sunday status by Wednesday or Thursday.

Luck said Monday that his conditioning needs work but that he felt fine throwing the ball, which was another hurdle that Luck needed to clear after playing through some shoulder issues.

Hasselbeck deserves a tremendous amount of credit for keeping this Colts team afloat during a very trying season in Indianapolis. While there is no doubt Jacksonville is getting better and the Texans are hanging tough, is there any doubt that a semi-healthy Luck would be the Colts' best option at quarterback going forward?

Luck called medical clearance his biggest hurdles. We'll see if he makes the leap by Friday when final injury reports are submitted.

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