Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is moving closer to a return to the field after surgery to fuse two bones in his neck, his third neck procedure in less than two years.
When Manning will be able to play remains unknown.
“X-ray and CT examination of the surgical area shows that the fusion performed in September has achieved firm fixation,” Dr. Robert Watkins said in a statement released by the team. “Peyton will now be allowed to increase the intensity and breadth of his workouts as tolerated. There remains every indication that his recovery will continue. There still is no timetable for Peyton’s return to practice, which is one of many steps in his expected return to game action. He is working hard on a rehabilitation program outlined in conjunction with myself, Erin Barill and Peyton. His response to this plan in the future will dictate his return date.”
“I am encouraged with what Doc had to say,” Manning said. “I am happy that I can increase my rehabilitation program as outlined by him, [Director of Rehabilitation] Erin [Barill] and the Colts Medical Staff. I am hopeful for continued progress in this next phase of my rehab.”
The Colts would like to see Manning practice at some point before the end of the season, since the Colts have to decide by late February 2012 whether to pay him a $28 million option bonus in late February. Absent firm knowledge that he’ll be able to play in 2012 and unless Manning agrees to delay the due date for the payment, the Colts may have to cut him.