Following reports circulating on Sunday night that Peyton Manning would be re-evaluated and may need a second surgery as he continues his rehabilitation from offseason neck surgery, the Colts declared him doubtful for the season opener at Houston.
Over the last few weeks, the typical media answer has been that he’ll find a way to play. Soon after the preseason’s start, NBC football analyst (and Manning’s former coach) Tony Dungy said Manning would have to be dead for him not to play in the opener.
Manning got the benefit of the doubt from pundits (and rightfully so) but we will not see the Super Bowl XLI MVP this Sunday, or perhaps any Sunday in the immediate future.
Manning’s injury is a multi-layered problem. Remember, not only does it impact throwing the ball; he must be able to take hits. If he isn’t in a position to make throws or take hits, obviously he will not be out on the field.
Even when he returns, I’d expect him to be off target.
He has missed training camp, preseason, and any typical offseason conditioning programs. As great as he is, Manning remains a creature of habit, much like most great players.
Indy’s season is peril…whether Manning is under center or not.