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Almost from the moment Pagano began chemotherapy treatments in late September, Arians and Indy’s upper management targeted the Dec. 30 game as Pagano’s return. With that game fast approaching, Arians has said twice this week that nothing is certain yet.

Arians said he is eager to go back to working just one job, offensive coordinator.

“Hopefully we can get this victory and secure our playoff spot and turn it back over to Chuck,” he said.

Players can’t wait, either.

“It would be great, I’m sure it would be emotional for a lot of people if it comes (next week),” rookie quarterback Andrew Luck said. “Hopefully, it will be soon. It will be great to have him back.”

Pagano may not be the only one making a return in the next few days.

Starting safety Tom Zbikowski has missed the last three games with a knee injury. On Monday, Arians ruled him out for the Chiefs game. On Wednesday, Arians acknowledged the prognosis had improved and said Zbikowski was questionable. He did dress for practice Wednesday.

“He’s moving around really well, so he is not out as I reported earlier this week,” Arians said.

Yet there are plenty of other concerns, especially along the offensive line where starting center Samson Satele is out with an ankle injury and right tackle Winston Justice (biceps) and backup center A.Q. Shipley (right knee) are both questionable.

If Satele and Shipley don’t play, Arians will move right guard Mike McGlynn to center and the rest of the Colts will adapt again _ just as they have all season.

“I think guys understand what’s at stake,” Luck said. “There’s a little more of a sense of urgency in terms of what to expect, but it is kind of like the playoffs.”


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