Colts want to name starter by third preseason game

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Will Andrew Luck and his injured calf-slash-ankle be available to start for the Indianapolis Colts come Week 1 of the regular season? We should get an answer by next weekend.

Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday night that he would like to make a decision on Indy's Week 1 starting QB "by the end of third preseason game" on Saturday, Aug. 24.

"You have to be able to make a call and move from there," Reich told reporters, per 1070TheFan's Kevin Bowen, "whether we're full speed with Andrew after that third preseason game or if at that point we are going with Jacoby (Brissett)."

Luck, who has been dealing with a calf strain since the spring, was revealed Tuesday night to also be dealing with a high-ankle injury, Colts general manager Chris Ballard told reporters.

The quarterback is expected to miss the remainder of Indy's preseason games. Regarding Luck's availability for Indy's opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, Ballard was not confident that the QB would be fit to start.

If Luck cannot go, Indy will hand the reins to backup QB Jacoby Brissett, who took over for the injured Luck in 2017, starting 15 regular-season games and leading the Colts to a 4-11 record. Brissett will get starting snaps in Indy's preseason clash with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday afternoon on NFL Network.

What would have to happen in Luck's rehab and recovery in the next 10 days for the Colts QB to start Week 1 after having barely practiced all offseason is not clear. As NFL Network's Mike Garafolo put it on NFL Total Access, "Unless Luck makes some miraculous recovery, you could be looking at Jacoby Brissett in Week 1."

Ballard insisted Tuesday night that this situation is not like that from 2017, when Luck's recovery from offseason shoulder surgery lingered into the regular season, the QB was eventually shut down and Indy fell in the standings.

But if Indy fails to find clarity with Luck's new injury before the season begins, it will be time once again to worry about Luck's durability and the Colts' viability as a playoff contender.

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