"Medically, I see no reason he cannot come back when he's ready to try and come back," Cripe told the AP. "Coach has done a great job with this, and I trust him."
Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that team is hoping Pagano can return to work on Monday and resume his duties as head coach when the Colts host Houston on Dec. 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have not announced when Pagano hopes to return, but he has attended home games and has spent time at the Colts practice complex, including earlier this week.
Pagano is not expected to travel with the team when it plays at Kansas City at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“Hopefully, we can get this victory and secure our playoff spot and turn it back over to Chuck,” Arians said.
Pagano has been on leave since being diagnosed with a form of leukemia in late September. He has undergone treatment since, including chemotherapy, and his doctors said the cancer is in remission. He will remain under care for the next couple years as doctors monitor him for any setbacks.
Colt players were asked this week about the possibility of Pagano returning, and they expressed their excitement about it.
“It will be great,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “I'm sure it will be emotional for a lot of people, but when it comes, and hopefully soon, it'll be very nice to sort of have our head coach back.”
Pagano has been in regular contact with Arians and some of the players during his treatment. He regularly reviewed games and practices on his laptop. Arians said the two have talked or texted on a daily basis.
The Colts (9-5) can clinch a playoff berth with a win at Kansas City.