September 5, 2011

How Serious is Peyton Manning's Neck Injury?

By - Kris Fletcher

With the NFL season set to start in three days, the buzzing question around the league is just how serious is Peyton Manning's neck problem?

Reportedly his back grew increasingly sore over the last few days, and even if that wasn't becoming an issue, he still hasn't made the kind of progress after summer neck surgery that makes him likely to play in Houston against the Texans this weekend.

Photo by: Matthew J. Lee
Radio reporter Jon Michael Vincent of ESPN-1070 in Indianapolis said yesterday that he was told Manning needs another surgery and will be out indefinitely. That prompted Colts president Bill Polian to release a brief statement saying, "I don't know anything about that. I honestly don't.''

No doubt Manning has been working like crazy to get his neck back to 100%. His surgery to repair a herniated disc was fifteen weeks ago today. When such a surgery is done, part of the disc is removed, which lessens the pressure on the nerve. Obviously though, that nerve needs time to heal.

A neurosurgeon in Pennsylvania told's Will Carroll in August that such a healing usually takes about two months. Clearly, that time frame has come and gone. So what's the problem?

In all likelyhood, Manning has been rehabbing too hard, which has caused a flare-up in his back. When dealing with the recovery time of a nerve, everyone's body is different. You can't make a definitive prediction as to how long the healing process will actually take.

Reports are that he's been able to throw, but not with the same zip or distance as he usually does at this time of year. I'm sure that's normal for a guy coming back from such a serious procedure. However, it's not good enough to think he can actually play in six days. So if nothing else, it's looking more and more like he will miss the first start of his fourteen-year career on Sunday.

It's probably a good thing Polian was able to talk Kerry Collins out of retirement, because Curtis Painter needs to be bagging groceries somewhere. Collins should be able to keep Indianapolis afloat in the division for a while if he has to play significant time, but as far as long-term goes, I wouldn't bet on it.

Photo by: Tony Tribble
Quite frankly, the Colts just aren't that good. Manning hides a lot of the flaws they have as a team by making guys around him look better than they actually are. Any chance of them making the playoffs hinge solely on how much time he ends up missing.

For right now anyway, Indianapolis appears to be trying to keep those details under wraps.


  1. Real simple. If Manning misses the season, Colts finish last in the division. If he plays all year, they win it. He's the single most important player to his team in the NFL.

  2. I actually think the Colts could still win the division with Collins playing the entire season, mainly because its one of the weaker divisions top to bottom in the NFL. I doubt Manning will miss all season though.

  3. I can see him having to miss the first few games. If he has to miss more then that the Colts are in big trouble. Collins hasn't been there long enough to really learn the offense yet.

  4. If Manning is out the whole year, Colts will be lucky to go 5-11. I still wouldnt be shocked to see him start week 1 though.

  5. No Manning, no chance for the Colts.

  6. Looks like he's gonna miss a pretty good amount of time, if not the entire season. Colts are screwed.