Pagano might return for Colts' final regular-season game

The Sports Xchange

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who has been on leave since Sept 26 when it was discovered he has leukemia, might return to the team for its final regular-season game on Dec. 30 against Houston.

Pagano is finished with chemotherapy sessions, and whether he can return to the sidelines depends on how he rebounds from the treatment.

According to, Dr. Larry Cripe of Indiana University Health Simon Cancer Center told Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, "Medically, I think it's very possible (Pagano could return Dec. 30), and I think the coach will make the decision about how he's feeling and whether he's up to the task. Then, the organization will make a decision.

"It's feasible. It's possible. Is it definite? No. I definitely think that's where we're heading and we have our fingers crossed that things go well and he's able to do it."

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has been the acting head coach in Pagano's absence, and the Colts are 7-2 under Arians.

When it was announced that Pagano would be on leave, team owner Jim Irsay said, "It's unlikely that [Pagano] will be all in as a head coach this season."

But the prospects have changed in recent weeks.

Phil Richards of the Indianapolis Star reported that Arians told him, "It looks great (for Pagano to return Dec. 30). He was in this morning and he looked good, really good."