(Ed. note: I’ve replaced the word surgery in both the headline and story with the more precise word ‘procedure’)
The latest bombshell in the mysterious case of Peyton Manning’s health was unleashed by Don Banks of Sports Illustrated today.
In it, he claimed that Manning had an additional procedure (note: I originally used the word surgery) beyond what was reported, and that the Colts fear his neck issues could become chronic.
He also gave details of Manning’s December workout the week before the Colts first win of the season against Tennessee. Banks description of Manning’s lack of velocity and fatigue match what I personally have heard about the workout.
Manning’s intent was to show his ability to throw late in the season by running a red zone offense for the Colts as his range was limited under 25 yards. The plan was quickly scuttled as team doctors shut him down after the labored workout. The session was not encouraging, and the Colts gave up hope that he could see the field in 2011.
It’s important to note that many of the details of Banks report have been mentioned by insiders for months now. While there are certainly new revelations in his article, it would be foolish to dismiss them as recent fabrications by the Colts front office. The story of the December workout is very similar to what was said after that workout took place in mid-December, well before the PR blitz began.
Whether the Colts’ concerns for Manning’s health are valid or not is impossible to know. I do believe them to be honest and long-standing, however, and not merely the result of posturing. While Manning may still make a full recovery and return to a high level of play in the NFL, it is anything but a given. Banks story illustrates full well why the Colts can’t possibly exercise the $28 million option on Peyton Manning.
While a healthy Peyton Manning would be worth every penny of the option, there is simply not enough evidence that he is or ever will be healthy to exercise that option.
Banks’ story also reveals something very important about Manning’s mindset toward coming back: it is not fully rational.
There was no possible way for Manning to play in 2011. It was a complete pipe dream. He was nowhere near game ready, but believed he was. Manning is absolutely determined to play in 2012, but no one should take his certainty or determination as evidence that he will be capable of doing so.
He was determined and certain in December as well, but simply did not have an accurate assessment of his own ability.
Peyton Manning will certainly try to play in 2012. Whether he makes it back is anyone’s guess.