INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck is sitting out this week's OTA practices at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, but there's no reason to panic.
The quarterback tweaked his calf during Phase II of offseason workouts last week and has a slight strain in the muscle.
With the start of training camp still two months away, head coach Frank Reich has no plans to rush his franchise player.
“I would anticipate where we are at right now, we will just say, ‘Hey, play conservative this week,’” Reich said. “Let’s just (do) nothing this week, and then we will re-evaluate after this week and see where he is. I don’t anticipate him being out the whole (spring) camp, no.”
The Indianapolis Colts have two more weeks of OTA practices before a mandatory mini-camp from June 11-13. That will be the coaches' final time with the players until training camp begins in late July at Grand Park in Westfield.
Luck is not the only big-name player sitting out this week. Linebacker Darius Leonard — the reigning defensive rookie of the year — is recovering from ankle surgery and not expected to be back until training camp. Tight end Jack Doyle is on a similar schedule following hip surgery, and tight end Eric Ebron also will be limited throughout the spring.
The Colts also are being cautious with safety Clayton Geathers, who battled a knee injury throughout most of last season, and defensive linemen Jabaal Sheard and Jihad Ward.
There are several benefits to resting veterans at this time of year including increased snaps for younger players. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox, rookie safety Khari Willis and rookie linebackers Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed are among the players who stand to gain the most this spring.
Reich won't rush any of the recovering players back onto the field.
“My whole mode and our whole mode during this session is just to be real conservative with guys — anybody who has any issue whatsoever,” Reich said. “I told (director of sports medicine) Erin Barill and (head athletic trainer Dave) Hammer, ‘Let’s just be conservative with these guys.’ The main thing is to get to camp at full strength. So really any player who has any issue, we are just going to be overcautious.”
One player who is a full participant is wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.
He played with high and low sprains on the same ankle for the final six weeks of last season, including the two playoff games, but rest has healed the issue completely.
Hilton ran all of his route tree during Tuesday's practice open to media and showed no ill effects.
“I mean he looked good,” Reich said, “and as far as I know everything is full speed ahead.”
New defensive end Justin Houston is adjusting quickly to his new surroundings.
A four-time Pro Bowler who racked up 78.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston already has shown flashes of his physicality even in non-contact practices.
He's also made an impact in the locker room.
“He has just a presence,” Reich said. “Justin Houston, he’s done a lot in this league. You can feel his leadership. Justin is a really savvy, smart player. You can tell his veteran leadership out there that this guy is a really smart football player.”
Indianapolis claimed guard Jake Eldrenkamp off waivers from the New England Patriots on Tuesday.
Eldrenkamp entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. He spent time on their practice squad that season and with the Cleveland Browns' practice squad last year.
Eldrenkamp — who played under first-year Colts offensive line coach Chris Strausser at the University of Washington — signed a reserve/futures contract with the Patriots in February.
Offensive tackle De'Ondre Wesley was released to clear space on the 90-man roster.