As the NFL world wonders what went wrong with Peyton Manning in Sunday’s loss to the Colts, anonymous sources are engaged in a back-and-forth about the severity of his leg injury.
What we know is this: Manning took a hard hit in Week 15 against the Chargers, briefly left the game, and has been listed on the team’s injury report as having a thigh injury since then.
What we don’t know is the severity of that injury. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported today that Manning has been playing through a torn quadriceps. But shortly after Schefter’s report, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported that Manning simply had a strain, not a full tear.
Schefter attributed his report to “two sources,” while Renck attributed his report to “a team source.” So we have no idea who’s talking and why. But it’s fair to think that Schefter’s two sources are motivated by putting Manning in a positive light, suggesting that Manning didn’t struggle because he’s getting old but because he was playing through an injury. Conversely, Renck’s team source may be motivated by not wanting the Broncos to appear to have been playing fast and loose with the NFL’s injury reporting rules.
Meanwhile, Jay Glazer of FOX reports that Manning actually has injuries to both quads, with a strain or partial tear in one and a deep bruise in the other.
If you believe Manning was struggling late in the season because he’s hurt, you probably believe that with a full offseason to rest, he can be a great quarterback again next season. If you believe that Manning only suffered the kind of minor injury that all NFL players suffer at some point in a season, you probably believe that Manning is showing signs of age, and that he’ll never be the kind of player he once was.
Whether Manning has a future in Denver — or anywhere else — remains to be seen. He turns 39 in March.