Colts QB Anthony Richardson 'strongly considering' season-ending shoulder surgery, per report

It's possible NFL fans won't see Anthony Richardson, the Indianapolis Colts' dynamic young quarterback, on the field again until 2024.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Sunday that Richardson, who is on injured reserve with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, is "strongly considering" having season-ending surgery to repair the injury.

Richardson's shoulder injury happened during the Colts' Week 5 win over the Tennessee Titans. Running with the ball late in the second quarter, two defenders converged on him and one knocked him to the ground directly on his shoulder and fell right on top of him. He left the game immediately afterward and didn't return. Gardner Minshew came in to replace Richardson in the second half of the 23-16 Colts win.

Richardson was diagnosed with a Grade 3 AC joint sprain following the game and was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Minshew will be the starting quarterback while he's out. According to Rapoport, Richardson's MRI showed some positive signs despite the serious injury. His labrum is reportedly intact and the ligaments "looked better than expected."

This is a major blow for the Colts. Richardson had started to emerge as a serious threat and had finally gotten on the field with running back Jonathan Taylor, who recently returned from an ankle injury. Over four games this season, Richardson has thrown for 577 yards with three touchdowns and 136 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The Colts drafted Richardson fourth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 08: Anthony Richardson #5 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after an injury during the play against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Anthony Richardson is reportedly cotemplating season-ending shoulder surgery. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) (Justin Casterline via Getty Images)

For Colts fans, this is just another in a long, long, long string of quarterback issues. It started with Andrew Luck's shocking retirement following the 2018 season, which immediately rendered any plans the Colts had for the future completely useless. The team rode with Jacoby Brissett under center in 2019, then spent the next year pretending 39-year-old Philip Rivers was the answer before he eventually retired. The Colts tried and failed to revive Carson Wentz's career in 2021 under former head coach Frank Reich, and in 2022 they went the veteran route again and signed 37-year-old Matt Ryan just one year before he also went into retirement.

Richardson was their chance to wipe clean the dirty whiteboard of the past and start over. And now, through no fault of their own (somehow!), the Colts are again facing a quarterback issue. But they've finally learned from the past. They're taking Richardson's shoulder injury very seriously, reportedly seeking four or five opinions on the best course forward. Losing him for the rest of the season might be painful, but if it means he'll be completely recovered for the 2024 season, it could be worth it.