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Posted at 05:03 PM ET, 08/20/2011

Jim Irsay, Bill Polian say Colts must be prepared to open season without Peyton Manning (updated)

Updated at 5 p.m.

Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian confirmed the uncertainty surrounding the availability of quarterback Peyton Manning for the season opener, a possibility raised earlier by owner Jim Irsay on Twitter.

Manning, who has not missed a game as a pro, had surgery in May to correct a disk problem in his neck — his second neck operation in 15 months. He has not participated in training camp or played in a preseason game.
Peyton Manning watches John Beck and the Redskins. (BRENT SMITH / REUTERS)

“Bottom line, we truly do not know when he will be ready,” Polian told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. “Once the nerves regenerate properly, he’ll be ready. When that happens, he’ll be ready to ramp up immediately. It’s impossible to predict.”

Manning, the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft, has started 208 regular-season and 19 playoff games. The 227-game streak is the second-longest for a quarterback behind Brett Favre. In Manning’s absence, Curtis Painter has started both preseason games, including Friday night’s loss to the Washington Redskins.

“Our whole focus is to be as good as we can be until he’s back,” Polian said. “That’s all there is to that. We’re going through the tape of [the Redskins] game right now. We’ve had a lot of problems the first two games that had almost northing to do with the quarterback. We’ve got to get some things straightened out with our O-line and our defense has been bad so far.”

Polian would not say whether the team is looking for veteran help at the position and said of Irsay’s comments: “Our owner is the owner. I can’t speak to that.”

Filed at 2 p.m.

Jim Irsay has given voice — via Twitter — to the worst fears of Indianapolis Colts fans: Might Peyton Manning not be ready for the season opener?

Manning has never missed an NFL start, but his recovery from neck surgery in May is keeping him out of preseason games and training camp and perhaps beyond.

Irsay tweeted, in his own inimitable fashion: “We r evaluating the QB sitch,#18 healing but we got 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him,defense has 2 pick it up,big time!”

Manning presently is on the physically unable to perform list and is expected to be activated before the season starts. As for a fill-in, neither Curtis Painter nor Dan Orlovsky appeared to be a viable short-term option, given the lack of urgency with which they played in the Colts’ loss to the Washington Redskins on Friday night, so what might the Colts do? Irsay ruled out former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who is having his pro day today ahead of Monday’s supplemental draft. Which means the team needs a plan and PDQ.

“There are three weeks remaining before the regular season begins, and unless Manning is back within a week, it’s fair to worry whether he’ll be ready to roll when it counts,” Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star writes. “(If you’re asking when Manning will return, here’s the answer: I. Don’t. Know. And I’m not sure Manning and the doctors know just yet, either.)”

So ... the Colts need a plan. And a better one than asking TwitterWorld what to do.

Not taking Pryor...what VET QB would u vote 4 to sign that's out there? If sum1 has 2 hold the fort early season,who u going with?less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  05:03 PM ET, 08/20/2011

 
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