INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck is starting to look and feel like his old self in practice.
Now he must prove he's just as healthy in a game.
For the first time since Luck injured his right throwing shoulder, outsiders saw the Colts quarterback making intermediate and long throws at Wednesday's practice, a promising sign for a team that faces the Patriots on Sunday night.
"Certainly, that was the next step," Luck said. "I'm getting better and better, and I feel like I'm on track."
Luck missed his first two NFL games after getting hurt in a Sept. 27 victory at Tennessee. He was listed as a limited participant at practices both weeks.
He was officially listed as limited and day to day again Wednesday but was much more active than either of the previous two weeks. He dressed in pads, threw short, accurate passes to running backs and made some longer throws to his tight ends during the early portion of practice that was open to the media.
That leaves one big question for the showdown with New England: If Luck plays, will he be in prime form?
"I think we're all hopeful to see the Andrew we all know and love, but time will tell," coach Chuck Pagano said. "When he's back, I'm sure we're going to see the same guy. Again, I don't have a crystal ball. But I can tell you when he's back, he'll be fine."
PROGRESS FOR BIG BEN: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took a small step toward returning to action. He was a limited participant in practice for the first time since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sept. 27.
WEEDEN UPSET: Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden isn't happy about losing his job after going 0-3 as the starting quarterback. Matt Cassel will start when the team returns from its bye week. "How do you think I took it? Obviously I'm" peeved, Weeden told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "But, you know, nature of this business."
BRAIN DAMAGE CONFIRMED: Former NFL lineman Adrian Robinson Jr., who committed suicide at age 25, had the brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, researchers at the NFL brain bank at Boston University confirmed.
CONCUSSIONS: Texans running back Arian Foster and Jaguars running back Bernard Pierce were on the field with potential head trauma last week. Foster returned to play on his own before the medical staff could evaluate him. Pierce showed no symptoms of a concussion until he tried a block instead of a tackle on the punt unit.
OBITUARY: Former Patriots offensive lineman Sam Adams died in Houston at the age of 67. Mr. Adams became ill at his Houston home Saturday and died at a hospital, Rodney Coleman of Coleman's Mortuary in Jasper said. No cause of death was released.
BILLS: Safety Aaron Williams will miss at least eight weeks with a neck injury after being placed on the reserve-injured designated to return list.
JAGUARS: Quarterback Blake Bortles fully participated in practice three days after spraining his throwing shoulder in a game against the Bucs.
JETS: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was a full participant at practice after being limited Monday by sore ribs.
LIONS: Linebacker DeAndre Levy will have hip surgery and could miss the rest of the season, coach Jim Caldwell said. Levy strained a muscle in his hip in an Aug. 24 practice.
PATRIOTS: Offensive lineman Nate Solder was placed on season-ending injured reserve three days after he left the game against the Cowboys with an arm injury.
RAIDERS: An MRI exam on defensive end Justin Tuck's injured shoulder was "not good," coach Jack Del Rio said without giving any additional details.
STEELERS: Defensive end Cam Heyward said he was fined by the league for paying tribute to his late father, former NFL running back Craig "Iron Head" Heyward. The younger Heyward tweeted that the league penalized him for writing "Iron Head" on his eye black during a game.
WASHINGTON: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson could return from his hamstring injury to face the Jets on Sunday and should be back no later than the following weekend against the Bucs.