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Andrew Luck of Indianapolis Colts says shoulder surgery ‘not an option for me right now’

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INDIANAPOLIS — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck says the thought of having a second surgery on his right shoulder has “sailed.”

Luck, who is continuing his rehabilitation on his surgically repaired right shoulder, did not attend a Town Hall event held by the Colts on Tuesday. However, he did a pre-recorded video interview with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who emceed the event, and it was aired for the audience.

“Oh, [surgery] is not an option for me right now,” Luck said. “I feel very, very good about where I am. So that ship has sailed in my mind, which is also a bit of a relief. I’m not going to lie.”

The Colts have undergone almost a complete overhaul in the past 13 months, with a new general manager, new head coach and likely an entirely new coaching staff. But a significant part of their success in the future will center on Luck’s health, which remains a mystery.

Like the franchise, Luck has dealt with a lot of change over the past 13 months. He had surgery on his right shoulder in January 2017. He missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, all of training camp and eventually the entire 2017 season after experiencing soreness that couldn’t be calmed by a cortisone shot once he started practicing in the middle of October. Luck also spent about six weeks in the Netherlands rehabbing his shoulder in late 2017.

New Colts coach Frank Reich said he’s “hopeful” that Luck will be back once the team starts offseason workouts in April.

“It’s been a long journey to this point, and it’ll still be a long journey until hopefully we get what we need to get done in Indianapolis,” Luck said. “The rehab has been hard at times. The one thing I know in my heart is that I am getting better, and I’m feeling great. I’m extremely optimistic. It’s been fun to see myself improve, so really I couldn’t be more excited for this offseason and for our new coach — everything that’s happening — and where the direction of the team is going.”

Luck has spent the past few weeks in Southern California working with throwing experts. He said he has started throwing but didn’t specify what kind of ball he’s throwing.

“Yeah, so I’m in the middle of sort of a little bit of throwing, but strengthening and preparing my shoulder to be able to handle the throw-load that is part of being an NFL quarterback,” Luck said. “So the focus right now is still strengthening all those muscles and making sure that my shoulder can handle it. … And as much as I have to catch myself — as much as I want to grab a ball and throw it a million times – I know I have to build up to be able to handle that point, and right now I’m in that building phase still.”

Luck spent his first three seasons in the NFL taking every significant snap for the Colts. His past three seasons, though, have been full of nothing but injuries. He has missed 26 games over the past three seasons because of shoulder, rib, kidney and concussion injuries. He hasn’t played in a game since Week 17 of the 2016 season.

“It was very difficult to not play last year and to have something that you love to do taken away from you,” he said. “And it makes you sort of turn the proverbial mirror on yourself and look at, you know, ‘Who am I? What am I? What do I truly love to do?’ And one of the many great things, blessings, of what I’ve gone through, one of them is that I truly, I can look at myself and I love football, and I want to play so bad. I love throwing a football. I love my teammates.

“And when that’s taken away from you — I probably didn’t appreciate it, how much joy I got out of that from my first five years in the league, and then to have that taken away from you gives you a perspective, and I think I’ll be a better quarterback and a teammate because of that perspective.”

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Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones to play against Detroit Lions despite hamstring

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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who was limited in practice time this week with a hamstring injury, will play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Jones returned to the lineup last Sunday and had eight catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 40-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

After sitting out the Falcons’ Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears, he played just 15 snaps in Week 4 and did not play in Week 5 with the same hamstring injury.

Jones sat out practice Wednesday before being a limited participant Thursday and Friday.

He has 23 catches for 350 yards and two touchdowns this season.

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Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins expected to face Seattle Seahawks

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Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins, listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks due to an ankle injury, is expected to play, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hopkins was held out of practice this week due to the injury, which has plagued him much of the season. Despite regularly appearing on the injury report, Hopkins hasn’t missed a game and leads the NFL with 47 receptions for a league-leading 601 yards and two touchdowns.

Hopkins had two receptions for 73 yards in Monday night’s win over Dallas. He’s missed just two games due to injury in his eight-year career.

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Las Vegas Raiders activate offensive linemen Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson off COVID-19 list

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HENDERSON, Nev. — The Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday activated four starting offensive linemen who had close contact with right tackle Trent Brown earlier this week.

Left tackle Kolton Miller, left guard Denzelle Good, center Rodney Hudson and right guard Gabe Jackson came off the COVID-19 list Saturday but must still test negative for the virus on Sunday morning in order to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

None of the four players have tested positive since going on the COVID-19 list this week as “high risk” close contacts to right tackle Trent Brown, who did test positive on Wednesday morning.

The four players were with Brown at practice on Monday. According to league protocol, as high risk contacts, they had to test negative for five consecutive days, plus the last day of contact.

Safety Johnathan Abram had contact with Brown on Tuesday, so there is not enough time for him to finish the protocol and play against Tampa Bay.

Brown was not wearing his tracking device, as mandated by NFL protocol, on Monday, so practice film had to be scoured to see who Brown had been close to that day.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Friday that Brown, who remains on the COVID-19 list, was feeling better.

With Miller, Good, Hudson and Jackson in self-isolation and joining the Raiders virtually this week to prepare, Las Vegas practiced with an offensive line of Brandon Parker, John Simpson, Andre James, Patrick Omameh and Sam Young. Left guard Richie Incognito remains on injured reserve.

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