It’s a happy day in Indianapolis.
Chuck Pagano has been medically cleared to return to work.
Per the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Chappell, Pagano’s doctor, Larry Cripe, said:
“Medically, he’s 99 percent recovered from my standpoint. I have placed him on no restrictions."
That means Pagano could return to his capacity as the team’s head coach on Christmas Eve and be in the primary headset for the season finale against the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 30.
Chappell emphasizes that Pagano has to decide if he is feeling up to the task.
As he’s fought leukemia and endured three rounds of chemotherapy, Pagano has been more involved in the Colts operation than many people realized -- watching film on an iPad, texting messages to players with more than encouraging words, communicating regularly with interim coach Bruce Arians and general manager Ryan Grigson.
With Pagano's potential return approaching, I’ve wondered a bit about the delicate balance he’ll need to strike as he re-emerges.
Here’s a team that has gone 8-3 since Pagano was hospitalized and the team turned to Arians, who is a leading coach of the year candidate. It's been a team with a purpose, eager to earn a playoff berth to give Pagano more to coach upon his return.
I’m sure Pagano will not come storming back in and do anything that alters the tone. But there could be ways his return affects the team’s balance.
It would be great for the Colts if they lock up their playoff berth Sunday with a win in Kansas City and don’t really have anything to be distracted from as their coach makes his way back to the front of the meeting room.
I’d think he’ll offer thanks for all the support and turn quickly to the task at hand considering that he has been hoping to get back to that kind of task for a long and difficult three months.