"Let's talk about Andrew because there's a lot of rumors," Ballard said. "Everybody is an expert on this right now. And all we can do is, number one, I'm going to listen to Andrew Luck, who I absolutely believe in and trust. I'm going to listen to the doctors that he's talking to and dealing with, and I'm going to listen to the guy that is training him right now. And, at this point, we feel very strongly that Andrew's in a good place. He doesn't need surgery -- I have not gotten that from the two doctors that he's seen after the season.
"His strength is good. He's working on his throw motion and he's working on his arm speed right now. He has not picked up a football, but he's throwing balls, working on arm speed. He's not going to skip a step. ... He's going to do everything right to get himself ready to play. And I'm very confident -- he's very confident -- that he's going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong. I'm very proud of the kid. Wouldn't want anyone else on our team. We want our team to match what he has inside."
Luck underwent surgery last January for an injury he initially suffered in 2015. The 28-year-old attempted to come back during the season but was shut down when his shoulder didn't respond after light throwing. He missed the entire 2017 season. Luck said in December he plans to be ready for 2018.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported over the weekend that there are still doctors who have concerns about Luck's shoulder and whether he could wind up needing additional surgery.
"I don't know with his shoulder you can accurately ever assess where you're at," Ballard said. "It's a very subjective part of the body, and especially with a thrower. But I know what we're being told right now, and we're very confident going forward."
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported last week that Luck was "very close" to throwing and plans to work with noted throwing mechanics and strength gurus Tom House and Adam Dedeaux.
As for the coaching search, Ballard said Luck and McDaniels "never spoke" during the interview process.
"I'll say this, and I've said this since Day 1: It's never about one guy," he said. "It's never about one guy. It's about the team. That's what I believe, and I think Andrew would tell you the same thing."
If Luck is ready to roll when the 2018 season opens he'll have a new head coach. It won't be Josh McDaniels.