The idea that Peyton Manning could have spinal fusion surgery in September and play again this season seemed impossible and now Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has confirmed it, saying that he doesn’t “envision Peyton playing this season.”
“These things take time. The best doctors can't predict. People often think someone knows for sure, and the answer is only time will tell,” Irsay said in an interview with Indianapolis’ WRTV. “He is doing everything he can to get back and is working as hard as he can.”
On Sept. 8, Manning underwent neck surgery for the third time in 19 months, this time having single-level anterior fusion. He remains on the active roster for the 0-12 Colts, but only last week was deemed to have healed sufficiently to begin an intensified rehab program. He has not been cleared to practice and Irsay was asked if there was hope that he could play before the regular season ends Jan. 1.
“I don't see that,” Irsay said. “I think with the timeframe we have left, I think it's something where it will go into the offseason.”
This would seemingly place the Colts on track to go winless, draft Stanford’s Andrew Luck and enter the 2012 season with both on the roster. Seems like a reasonable plan — or it did until Peyton’s pop, Archie, said that he didn’t think the two could co-exist on a roster. Archie Manning walked that back a bit Wednesday, but the seeds for pondering Peyton’s departure from Indy are taking root.
And so is the speculation about the likeliest destination for him? Washington? (Chris Mortensen thinks so. Ditto Michael Lombardi. I’m not sure what Adam Schefter thinks; neither is Steinberg.) Miami? The New York Jets? (This would be handy for the Mannings.) Where’s the best place for Manning, assuming he can play and leaves Indy?