ESPN’s Bell Offers a Perspective on QB Peyton Manning’s Recovery

As a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist, and certified strength and conditioning specialist, ESPN blogger Stephania Bell is one of the more credible sources of sports medicine information.  So when she weighed in on Peyton Manning’s condition during Thursday’s ESPN’s Fantasy Football Podcast, Coltzilla took notice.

Bell first made the point that it shouldn’t have shocked anyone that the Colts signed QB Kerry Collins as insurance in the event that Manning couldn’t return for Week 1 against Houston:

[Peyton's situation] is being spoken about like it’s breaking news, but when I went to Colts camp and he was sequestered, and nobody saw him, and he wasn’t practicing with the team, and they were saying, ‘We don’t know when he’s going to be ready and we’re taking this a day at a time,’ this possibility (signing a veteran) was out there.

She went on to say that, while Colts fans are certainly going to be concerned, Collins’ signing doesn’t represent a sudden setback or departure from Manning’s rehabilitation plan:

The closer it gets to the season I understand the more panic it generates, but it’s not like there’s been a sudden downturn.  It is not like there has been a radical deviation from the path… at this point you have to prepare as the Colts are, that he may not be available the first few weeks of the season…. But I don’t think this is a sign – it’s important to keep in mind that this is not a radical downturn from what we’ve been seeing the past few weeks.

Bell did acknowledge, however, that Manning could still miss time:

Yeah, he could miss a game or two, but he also might be there [to play].

Finally, she offered some insight into the medical aspect of Peyton’s recovery:

One of the issues after this type of injury – he had a bulging disc that they did surgery to address – is that the nerves that are located near where the disc is compromised are affected. So you’re waiting for all that recovery, which then affects the strength of your arm and throwing shoulder. You know, it can be subtle changes. So it might be that he’s strong – he is throwing by the way. So it might be that he’s throwing, he does well, but maybe the arm fatigues – is it ready for four quarters of football? Does he do well for three quarters and then drop off in the fourth quarter?

It’s clear that Bell is neither surprised nor, as an avid fantasy football enthusiast, terribly panicked by Manning’s progress thus far.  She and host Nate Ravitz certainly cautioned listeners against drafting Manning too high in their fantasy football leagues, but they only dropped him from 5th to 9th on their list of quarterbacks, potentially not even reason to worry about his status in the REAL football league.

Greg Cowan and Laura Calaway